Sergio Perez to become ‘Rosberg 2.0’ after Max Verstappen incident

Max Verstappen refused to let Sergio Pérez past on the last lap of the 2022 Brazilian GP, defying team orders.

Despite having reigned supreme in 2022, all is not well at Red Bull following a massively controversial moment at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The race was certainly not the Austrians best of the season, after Max Verstappen was forced to recover from last following contact with Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Pérez was left helpless on the wrong tyres.

In the closing laps of the race at Interlagos, Pérez sat in third at a late Safety Car restart but on the Medium tyres, whilst those around him were on superior Soft rubber.

There was little the Mexican could do as he tumbled down to sixth, with Verstappen behind in seventh, where the controversy started.

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As he always does, Pérez allowed Verstappen past at the team’s request, to see if the Dutchman could overtake Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc ahead.

However, Verstappen was told that if he failed to overtake either driver, then he’d have to return the position to Checo.

On the last lap of the race, despite being instructed by his race engineer to give Pérez the place back, Verstappen failed to do so.

After crossing the line, he was asked “what happened Max”, by his engineer.

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Verstappen replied with a cryptic message, where he told his side: “I told you already last summer. You guys don’t ask that again to me, ok? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.”

It was a side of Verstappen that has never been seen before in this outright fashion, where he openly failed to respect the demands made by his team.

Understandably, Pérez was furious with his team-mate.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner immediately apologised to the 32-year-old, who then replied that the Dutchman “showed who he really is”.

Pérez continued to the media after the race that he was “really surprised” that Verstappen failed to help him, considering the Mexican is in a tight fight for second in the Drivers’ Championship.

“I have no idea [what his reasons are],” Perez told Sky Sports F1.

“Maybe you should ask him about it. I’ve nothing to say really.

“After all I have done for him, it is a bit disappointing to be honest.

“I have no idea. I am really surprised.”

Some now wonder if this is the start of the end of the pair’s relationship, given that Checo has arguably been the perfect team-mate to Verstappen not just in 2022 but also in 2021.

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One fan questioned if 2023 will see Pérez as a “Rosberg 2.0”.

It’s in reference to Nico Rosberg’s frosty relationship with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, which started with the pair being best of friends, before completely breaking down into turmoil.

Whether that will happen remains to be seen next season; however, the Mexican will clearly be less eager to help his team-mate going forward.