Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has jumped to Valtteri Bottas’ defence after the Finnish driver was criticised by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.
After the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix, Wolff criticised Bottas for not closing down Verstappen more aggressively on the run down to Turn One.
The Austrian blamed Bottas for both Mercedes drivers losing out to Verstappen after locking out the front row of the grid in qualifying.
“That should not happen,” Wolff said in a post-race interview.
“I think we had two cars in front and seemed to open up the seal for Max to come around the outside.
“The spin afterwards and a complete loss of points with Valtteri’s car, when that could have been a third or fourth place, is annoying to say the least,” added Wolff.
Speaking to the De Telegraaf newspaper, Verstappen described Wolff’s criticism of Bottas as “very cheap.”
“You have to leave room for a car width, otherwise he [Bottas] would have received a penalty,” the Dutchman said.
“I don’t know what Toto is talking about. You can easily blame it on Valtteri, but I think that is very cheap.”
Heading into this weekend’s Sao Paulo GP, Verstappen has a 19-point lead over Sir Lewis Hamilton after winning last time out in Mexico.