Max Verstappen reveals why he didn’t ‘block’ Charles Leclerc to help Sergio Perez

Sergio Pérez missed out on second in the Drivers' Championship by a marginal three points.

Max Verstappen’s perfect end to what has been a perfect year for the Dutchman was perhaps overshadowed somewhat, after team-mate Sergio Pérez failed to seal Red Bull a one-two in the Drivers’ Championship.

Given that Verstappen claimed the Drivers’ Championship once again and Red Bull achieved their first Constructors’ Championship since 2013, Pérez claiming second would’ve been the ideal end to an unbelievable year for the Austrians.

Going into the final race of the year, Pérez was the favourite to claim second in the standings, with the Mexican having looked strong at the Yas Marina Circuit.

However, Charles Leclerc’s pace in the race appeared to be a shock to Red Bull, who fell into Ferrari’s strategic trap.

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Leclerc was told to pit for a second time unless Checo came in ahead of him, something which ended up being a perfect “dummy call”.

Leclerc moved into second behind Verstappen who won the race, as Pérez was called into the pits, with the Monegasque driver ending up completing the race on a one-stop.

Despite having fresher rubber, Pérez ended the race in third, 1.3 seconds behind the Ferrari driver.

Some asked Verstappen after the race if he could’ve tried to block Leclerc late on to allow Checo to catch-up, something he questioned the fairness of.

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“No, there was not [a team order],” Verstappen told reporters, when asked if Red Bull had told the Dutchman to help his team-mate.

“But also that is quite a tricky call to make.

“You can possibly block but I mean, is that fair racing? I think [that is] not the nicest way going out of the championship, out of the season you know?

“It looked like that Checo was catching him enough to try and actually get a movement and he lost quite a bit of time with that bit of a fuss between Pierre [Gasly] and Alex [Albon]. I was watching on the screen.”

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Verstappen went on to explain that the team’s strategy was perhaps wrong, with the 25-year-old wondering if himself and Pérez could’ve “pushed a bit more” during the middle phase of the race.

“In hindsight, probably, as a team, we could have pushed a bit more on that on that middle stint for Checo but that’s always easy to say afterwards,” added the Dutchman.

“At the time, we thought that we had to be a little bit careful on the tyres but again, we’ve had a lot of great weekends but even in great weekends [there is] always things that you can learn.”