Max Verstappen reveals real reason for giving Sergio Perez priority

Max Verstappen led 1,003 laps in the 2023 season, destroying Sebastian Vettel's 2011 record of 739 laps.

At the 2023 season finale in Abu Dhabi, Max Verstappen allowed Red Bull to pit Sergio Perez first, despite the fact the Dutchman was in the lead.

Traditionally, whichever driver is in front is pitted first by their team, to protect their position and give them the best opportunity to make further ground.

At the Yas Marina Circuit last month, Verstappen was leading comfortably yet opted to remain out on the track on his old Medium tyres longer than planned, to allow Perez to pit first.

Whilst some might see this as a simple kind gesture by the three-time World Champion, there was actually a reason behind his actions.

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Verstappen recently revealed that he allowed Perez to pit first so he could continue leading the field, something which was crucial to surpassing 1,000 laps led.

The 26-year-old was confident that completing his first pit-stop later in the race wouldn’t “jeopardise” reaching the milestone, which he just about did come the end of the Grand Prix.

Come the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Verstappen had led 1,003 laps in 2023, destroying the previous record of 739 laps which was set by Sebastian Vettel in 2011.

“Well, it was simple. I wanted to stay out longer so as not to jeopardise my 1000 laps in the lead,” Verstappen revealed to German newspaper Blick.

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Remarkably, Verstappen led 75.7 per cent of the total laps in the most recent season, highlighting his dominance.

2023 was just a phenomenal campaign for the Red Bull driver, who blitzed a handful of records, some he’d only claimed in 2022.

After winning 15 races in 2022, Verstappen destroyed his record of wins in a season after claiming 19.

This meant he’d been victorious in 86.4 per cent of the 22 races this year, eclipsing Alberto Ascari’s 1952 record of 75 per cent.

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Verstappen also set a new benchmark for most points scored in a campaign after amassing 575 points.

This total would’ve been enough for Red Bull to win the Constructors’ Championship purely on his points and without Checo’s.

It was a year like no other, with many expecting the reigning World Champion to be just as dominant in 2024, but will he break any of the records he obliterated in the past 12 months?