Max Verstappen urged to remember Sergio Perez heroics amid tensions

Sergio Pérez faces losing second in the Drivers' Championship potentially as a result of his team-mate defying team orders.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle has shared his thoughts on the unbelievable incident that unravelled at the Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend, where Max Verstappen defied team orders in the most blatant way possible.

The race was a challenging one for the double World Champion; however, as usual, he ensured that he was in the points places.

In the closing laps of the race he found himself behind team-mate Sergio Pérez, who was struggling for pace.

Pérez allowed Verstappen past so that the Dutchman could try to overtake either Fernando Alonso or Charles Leclerc, with the latter being who Pérez is battling for second in the Drivers’ Championship.

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The understanding was, though, that if he couldn’t overtake either driver, then he’d need to return P6 to the Mexican, something he failed to do.

Verstappen’s blatant refusal to follow a team order was made even more cryptic when asked “what happened”, after he crossed the line.

“I told you already last time – you guys don’t ask that again to me, ok? Are we clear about that?” Verstappen cryptically said over the team’s radio.

It’s believed that this relates to an incident earlier in the year at the Monaco Grand Prix, where Pérez reportedly crashed on purpose in Q3 to stop the Dutchman from claiming pole.

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Nevertheless, Verstappen’s disobedience could result in Pérez missing out on second in the standings, something which would be huge for the Austrians considering they’ve never claimed a one-two in the Drivers’ Championship.

Brundle is certain that Verstappen’s refusal to let Pérez past is due to what supposedly happened at Monaco, but that the Dutch driver still needs “friends and respect”, something he’s potentially lost.

“Perez had let Verstappen easily though on the understanding that if Verstappen didn’t get any further and past Alonso or a Ferrari, then he would be let back through,” the ex-F1 driver wrote for Sky Sports.

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“This didn’t happen and so Max was duly told to let Sergio past before the chequered flag to help him in his fight with Leclerc for second in the drivers’ championship. He refused due to some historical reason that had apparently already been discussed.

“I believe this to be over antics during qualifying back in Monaco.

“Max will also no doubt remember how Sergio held up Lewis in Abu Dhabi last year, which played a key role in Lewis not being able to pit for fresh tyres under the safety car, and how he fought Lewis so hard in Baku along with other examples which helped Max seal the 2021 title. I believe he called him a ‘legend’ back then.

“This is not a popularity contest, it’s the brutal world of F1, but you still need friends and respect, and giving Sergio a meagre sixth place when the championship is already in his pocket would have cost Max nothing. It’s the second boomerang in two races which has come back to hit Max pretty hard.”