Heading into this weekend’s season finale at Abu Dhabi, Max Verstappen’s controversial incident remains one of the biggest talking points, with a former World Champion having added his thoughts.
Verstappen endured a messy Brazilian Grand Prix, which became that way as a result of colliding with Lewis Hamilton on Lap Seven at Turn Two.
As a result of being forced to pit after the impact, the double World Champion worked his way from the foot of the field up to seventh, where with just a few laps remaining he found himself behind team-mate Sergio Pérez.
The Dutchman was allowed to overtake the Mexican under the condition that if he couldn’t overtake Fernando Alonso or Charles Leclerc, then he’d need to return the place.
When it got to the final lap, Verstappen was told to give the place, after failing to overtake either driver; however, he opted to keep the spot as he crossed the finish line.
It resulted in some fiery comments from both drivers, with Verstappen having told his team not to ever ask him to give a place up again, whilst Pérez slammed the 25-year-old for showing “who he really is”.
The result of Verstappen’s disobedience has had a big impact on the Drivers’ Championship, as Pérez and Leclerc are now level on points heading into the season finale.
2009 World Champion Jenson Button was disappointed in the Dutchman, who he believes would’ve looked so good had he given Checo the place.
Button also thinks the blame as to be shared by Red Bull as well, though, with the Brit believing that the issue wasn’t spoken about particularly well before the race.
“Max could have come out of this so well – the world champion letting his team-mate pass so he can fight for second place in the championship,” Button said on Sky Sports’ Any Driven Monday.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it?
“But you’ve got to ask Red Bull. If they have discussed this beforehand, as Max said, why are they asking him to do it in the race?
“It feels like they haven’t discussed it properly before the race weekend or before the race as a team and that seems like the bigger issue.
“It seems like Red Bull has put itself in this situation which definitely is negative marketing.”
Verstappen’s defiance has made for a frosty atmosphere at Red Bull, one that could’ve been avoided entirely if it weren’t for Verstappen.
Button states that it could’ve been a “perfect end” to the Brazilian GP for Red Bull, but that is “not the story” that unfolded.
“It could have been a perfect end to the race,” added Button.
“The mistake in the early part of the race with Lewis, whose ever fault it was, it was an incident that we didn’t want to see, but to come out of it and say, ‘Here you go Checo, here’s a couple of points and now you’re second in the championship’. It’s awesome.
“But that story is not the story that we have right now.”