Max Verstappen’s refusal to obey team orders and allow teammate Sergio Perez to pass him in the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix has ignited controversy, the Dutchman being blasted for his snub and drawing unacceptable hate from social media cesspools.
With Sergio Perez in a close fight with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for runner-up in the 2022 Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship, Red Bull asked teammate Max Verstappen to let the Mexican pass him for sixth, which would allow him to go to Abu Dhabi with a two-point advantage over the Monegasque.
Verstappen refused saying over the team radio: “I told you already last time. Don’t ask that again to me. Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.”
When informed about his teammate’s refusal, Perez said: “It shows who he really is,” and went on to tell the media after the race: “I think if he has two Championships, it’s thanks to me.”
The Dutch ace and double F1 World Champion has been criticised for his actions, while the inevitable (these days) digital maggots have surfaced on social media spewing unacceptable abuse at Verstappen and his family, even his mother Sophie Kumpen, thrust into the mess.
Button: Negative marketing for Red Bull
Sensible pundits, this site included and true Max fans, which we are here on GRANDPRIX247, saw it as a missed opportunity for our World Champion to be a big man on the day. He failed, and he remains a man-child, which is his right as a 25-year-old.
Nevertheless, disappointing. But should not detract from his genius behind the wheel.
Reflecting on the saga, Jenson Button is as perplexed as most by Verstappen’s petulance on what is clearly an internal team matter that had not been resolved, the 2009 F1 World Champion said on ‘Any Driven Monday’ Sky Sports show: “Max could have come out of this so well – the world champion letting his team-mate pass so he can fight for second place in the championship. It’s amazing, isn’t it?
“But you’ve got to ask Red Bull. If they have discussed this beforehand, as Max said, why are they asking him to do it in the race?
“It feels like they haven’t discussed it properly before the race weekend or before the race as a team and that seems like the bigger issue. It seems like Red Bull has put itself in this situation which definitely is negative marketing,” concluded Button:
Red Bull enter damage control mode
The Red Bull team scrambled after the race in Brazil to control the damage and held talks with both drivers after which they announced that the drivers agreed to move on and things are sorted.
Christian Horner said: “We discuss these things internally, the drivers have obviously spoken about it as well. They’re very, very clear.
“For us, Checo is now tied on points with Charles [Leclerc], Ferrari didn’t switch their cars around and we go into Abu Dhabi as a team to do the very best that we can for Checo to achieve that second place and Max will fully support that,” he added.
Red Bull consultant Dr. Helmut Marko added: “It has now been discussed what happened. Everything has been clarified internally.
“We are working as a team and the premise is Abu Dhabi and Max will do everything he can to give Sergio that second place. That’s all I can say about it,” he insisted.
There were rumors that Verstappen believes that Perez crashed on purpose in Monaco during qualifying while the Dutchman was on another flying lap. Perez won the race, Verstappen finished third.
Verstappen said: “I also gave my reasons about why I didn’t do it about something that happened in the past,” and when pushed to confirm if it was Monaco, he answered: “I don’t need to say where it was.”
People really hating on this “Verstappen dude”
Now while some agree with what Verstappen did, other do not and that is always going to happen, and even more, with today’s social media and what have you, this story was always going to stir up controversy.
However what was really interesting for me, that a mate of mine that doesn’t even watch F1 texted me saying: “Wow, people really hating on this Verstappen dude.”
Just referring to the Red Bull ace as “this Verstappen dude” tells you how little my mate cares and knows about F1, but then I went and had a look around Twitter – usually I strictly use twitter when I need it for work – and I saw the extent of bad things were for Max.
The thing is, that everyone has all the right to criticize Verstappen for what he did, but what is circulating on social media was so offensive and down right personal against the Dutchman.
Below are some examples of some Verstappen supporters that are not happy with what their driver did on Sunday in Sao Paulo.