After a year of dominance and superiority, Red Bull boss Christian Horner might be dreaming of the season’s conclusion, following a sudden breakdown in relations between Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez.
Nobody could’ve predicted what would’ve gone down at the Brazilian Grand Prix, where Verstappen defied team orders and refused to help Pérez, by giving the Mexican back the position he gave to the double World Champion.
The dramatic event resulted in Pérez admitting that the 25-year-old had shown “who he really is”, with the result having potentially cost the 32-year-old second in the Drivers’ Championship.
Going into the season finale, Charles Leclerc and Pérez are level on points; however, the Ferrari driver sits in P2 due to having won three races this season, compared to Pérez’s two.
Ex-F1 driver Christijan Albers is certain that “there is something personal” between Pérez and Verstappen, with it believed to be a rumour that Pérez crashed on purpose in Q3 at the Monaco Grand Prix to stop the Dutch driver claiming pole.
“Between Verstappen and Perez there is something personal,” Albers said.
“I understand that Verstappen may have his reasons and his principles, but a driver of his calibre should not behave like that.
“He had the chance to make his contribution to the team’s double in the classification and he made his choice.
“Was it worth it? He should have proved himself superior. Perez didn’t show much class either, his radio attack on Verstappen’s nature is a low blow.”
There is no doubt that Verstappen defying team orders is a huge sign of disrespect to the team and Pérez, no matter whether the pair get on or not.
Pérez has played a pivotal role in helping Verstappen claim his titles in 2021 and 2022, with his defending at the season finale last year being unforgettable.
Albers does think, though, that it’s “hard to find” someone as talented as Verstappen who will follow everything he’s told.
“It’s hard to find a driver who does exactly what you say, he’s great in every situation in front of the microphones, he’s great in the car and he wins world titles,” said Albers.
“There will always be edges.”