Christian Horner defends Max Verstappen, takes responsibility for Sergio Perez clash

The team order drama in Sao Paulo provided a sour end to what was a brilliant season for Red Bull.

Red Bull could not have wished for a better start to the new era of Formula 1, as both Mercedes and Ferrari encountered major issues, allowing the energy drink giants to cruise to both championships.

Despite Max Verstappen and the team having both titles wrapped up by the time Formula 1 headed to Sao Paulo, the Brazilian Grand Prix saw the relationship between the Dutchman and his teammate Sergio Perez turn toxic.

Coming into the latter stages of the race, both Red Bull drivers found themselves outside of the podium positions as Mercedes dominated the weekend.

Red Bull asked Verstappen to switch placed with Perez so the Mexican could score a couple of extra points to help his chances of beating Charles Leclerc to second place in the championship.

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The 25-year-old explosively refused, claiming that the team should know his reasons for not wanting to help his teammate, leading to a hostile atmosphere between the pair after the race.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has placed some of the blame for the incident at his own feet, also suggesting that everyone has moved on from the incident.

“It was something that, as we hadn’t envisaged it, we hadn’t discussed it, before the race, and I think, that was a mistake on our part, that we should have thought through, or tried to think through every single scenario,” he said.

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“So, I think that was a mistake as a team that we didn’t discuss it and come up with a very clear plan. Obviously, it was unfortunate what happened, but it was quickly discussed, openly and transparently.

“And both drivers were very clear, open and honest with each other and from that, as a team, we move on and the dynamic between the drivers is absolutely fine.

“We made some mistakes in Brazil, we’ve learned from that and, as I say, we move on. We’ve done some amazing things. These two drivers have performed incredibly well together.

“They’re the reason that we are in the position that we are… So, we’re not going to let the events of a couple of laps in Brazil dictate the year for us.”

It had been rumoured that Red Bull would be willing to replace Perez with either Lando Norris or Daniel Ricciardo following his fall out with Verstappen, however Horner has been quick to defend his driver, telling reporters that the team will honour their contract with the Mexican which runs until the end of 2024.