With both championships already wrapped up and Sergio Perez finding himself in a tight battle with Charles Leclerc for the runner up spot in the drivers’ championship behind his teammate Max Verstappen, it was understandable that the team decided to intervene to help the Mexican.
Both Red Bull drivers found themselves outside of the podium places in the latter stages of the Brazilian Grand Prix after a poor weekend for the team, and Red Bull requested that Verstappen let Perez through for an extra two points to help him in his battle with Leclerc.
Verstappen explosively refused, claiming that the team know his reasons for doing so and prompting Perez to claim that now the world has seen who his teammate really is.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has claimed that both drivers have sat down to discuss the incident and have buried the hatchet, however the Brazilian GP has left a sour taste in the mouth of some fans.
Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber has suggested that the team’s request caught Verstappen off-guard, as he may not have been expecting to be asked to give up a position.
“In our day, it was the first experience of it [team orders] for Christian, Sebastian [Vettel], myself and Red Bull itself. They were some challenging times, but that is the nature of the beast,” Webber told Speedcafe.
“In hindsight, there are decisions that you could do differently and better for the team or one driver in particular, but [F1] is great at hindsight.
“[Red Bull] can’t press the pause button in the middle of the race. The communication with Max in Brazil seemed to surprise him somewhat.
“It was dealt with internally post-race. Trying to talk to the driver with the helmet on in the last laps of the race to try and get the full picture of what was going on is not always easy.”
Webber was part of some team order drama himself during his racing days, with the phrase ‘Multi-21’ being known by F1 fans all around the world.
Sebastian Vettel refused to stay behind Webber in Malaysia despite being ordered to do so by the team, going on to snatch victory from the Australian and starting the downfall of what was already a tense relationship between the pair.
Red Bull have insisted that Verstappen’s relationship with Perez is as good as new and despite the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo as the team’s third driver, the Mexican’s seat is not at risk in the near future.