Ex-F1 champion blames Red Bull for tensions between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez

Sergio Pérez lost his slim lead over Charles Leclerc in the fight for second in the Drivers' Championship at the 2022 Brazilian GP.

Red Bull head into the season finale this weekend presumably hoping to avoid a similar situation to last weekend, where Max Verstappen blatantly defied team orders.

With the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships already sealed, the Austrians are trying to get Sergio Pérez second in the standings, with the side having never claimed a one-two in the Drivers’ standings.

Pérez has held second place for the last few rounds but goes into the season finale at Abu Dhabi this weekend level on points with Charles Leclerc, with Verstappen solely to blame.

In the closing laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Pérez allowed Verstappen past for P6, with the Dutchman having been given permission to try and overtake either Fernando Alonso or Leclerc.

READ: Toto Wolff delivers bad news for Lewis Hamilton fans ahead of Abu Dhabi GP

The double World Champion was told that if he failed to pass either, then he’d need to return the place to Checo.

Verstappen failed to do either of these things despite being reminded on the radio to give the place back, resulting in a public outburst between the two drivers.

Pérez was left feeling that his team-mate had shown “who he really is”, whilst Verstappen explained that he had his “reasons” for defying the side.

The result meant that Pérez actually scored two points less than he should, meaning he is level with Leclerc heading into the finale.

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2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button doesn’t understand why Verstappen defied his side, which has ended up being a “negative” situation for the team to deal with.

“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.”

It was a messy race for Verstappen, who recovered from last place following an early collision with Lewis Hamilton, for which the 25-year-old was awarded a five-second time penalty.

Had Verstappen given the place to Checo, Button believes it would’ve been the “perfect end” to the Brazilian GP for Red Bull, but that “is not the story” that played out.

READ: Charles Leclerc makes claim about Sebastian Vettel

“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.”