Max Verstappen says the reaction to team orders is disgusting

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez
Max Verstappen (left) said he had “reasons” for refusing team orders to give up his place to Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez (right) at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen says some of the reactions to his role in the Red Bull team orders controversy in Brazil have been “unacceptable” and “disgusting”.

World Champion Red Bull’s request was refused for allowing teammate Sergio Perez to pass on the last lap of last weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix to earn points in his battle for second place in the championship.

Verstappen said: “After the race, I looked really bad in the media. But they didn’t have a clear image.

“For you to degrade me on the spot like that is so absurd. All the things I have read are disgusting.

“They started attacking my family, they were threatening my sister, my mom, my girlfriend, my dad. And for me, that goes too far when you don’t even have the facts of what’s going on. And that definitely has to stop.”

“If you have a problem with me, that’s fine, but don’t go after my family because that’s not acceptable.”

Verstappen initially appeared to refer to responses to the incident on social media, but then also said he had a problem with some media reports after the race.

“What a lot of people write about me is ridiculous,” he said.

“At the end of the day, you contribute to all the problems that social media has by writing these kinds of things.

“It’s incredibly disappointing to read this kind of thing. I know who I am and the team knows how I work and I’ve always been good with the team.”

He added, “Once there’s something negative to highlight, it’s disgusting to be a part of that. Whereas at the end of the day I didn’t do anything wrong; it’s just that people misunderstood what was going on.”

Verstappen said after the race in Brazil that he had “reasons” for refusing to let Perez back up front and that he was responding to “something that happened in the past”.

There were reports that Verstappen believed Perez intentionally crashed at the end of qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix, an incident that prevented Verstappen from completing the last lap, which would have awarded him a front row place.

As it was, Perez and Verstappen qualified third and fourth, and the Mexican went on to win the race.

A number of sources told BBC Sport that Red Bull investigated the crash after the race and Perez admitted he crashed on purpose.

But Perez dismissed the claim, saying it was “false”, adding: “This is just speculation, and people are making rumours. We are all aware of what is going on and we want to keep him within the team.”

Verstappen again refused to elaborate on the reasons for his actions in Brazil, saying he would “stay between me and the team” but admitted that Red Bull had made mistakes in its running of the race weekend.

“It was about something that happened earlier in the season,” he said. “I already explained it in Mexico, and the team understood it and agreed.

“We went to Brazil and I thought we were just going to go to the race and get the best possible result. We had a little bit of a misunderstanding on Saturday and Sunday. He didn’t say anything to me about a possible exchange or anything. It just came on that last lap that was said on the radio.” .

And they should have known my response already from what I said the week before.

After the race we had some good discussions and put everything on the table and everything was resolved.

“In hindsight, we should have had this conversation earlier. I’ve never been a bad teammate, I’ve always been so helpful. The team knows that. I always put the team ahead because it’s a team effort at the end of the day. What we learned is that we We should be more open and communicate better with each other.”

However, Perez said the conversation after the race in Brazil only covered the events of that day.

Asked how long Verstappen had been in trouble with his past actions, Perez said: “I don’t know how long there is. We haven’t discussed that.”

Red Bull issued a statement on Thursday acknowledging that they “made some mistakes in Brazil” and that the team “accepted Max’s reasoning”.

The statement added: “Max was only informed at the last corner of the assignment request without passing on all the necessary information. This put Max, who had always been an open and honest team player, in an awkward position with little time to respond which was not our intention.” .

On-board camera footage shows that Verstappen was first asked to let Perez get into sixth after turn four on the last lap, and again three times as he exited the last corner.

Pérez had been told earlier in the race to “don’t fight Max” when the race restarted after a safety last-car period so he could try to pass the cars in front of him.

Verstappen got ahead of Perez but was unable to pass Fernando Alonso in the Alps for fifth place, and was told: “If we don’t pass Fernando at exit 12, can we let Chico pass, please let Chico pass”.

When he did not comply, he was asked, “What happened?”

He replied, “I already told you guys last time, don’t ask me again. Well? Are we clear on that? I’ve given my reasons and I stand by it.”

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