Max Verstappen says reaction to team orders controversy ‘unacceptable’ and ‘disgusting’

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez
Max Verstappen (left) said he had “reasons” to defy team orders to give up his place to Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez (right) at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen says some reactions to his role in the Red Bull team’s order controversy in Brazil are “unacceptable” and “disgusting”.

World Champion Rejected Red Bull’s order to score points in the battle for second in the championship to allow his team-mate Sergio Perez to advance to the final round of last weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Verstappen said: “After the race, I looked very bad in the media, but they didn’t have a clear picture.

“It’s ridiculous to put me down immediately. Everything I’ve read is so disgusting.

“They started attacking my family, they threatened my sister, my mom, my girlfriend, my dad. And it’s going too far when you don’t even have the facts of what’s going on with me. It has to be done. Stop.

“If you have a problem with me, that’s fine, but don’t go after my family because it’s unacceptable.”

Verstappen initially appeared to be responding to the incident on social media, but he also said he had a problem with some media reports after the race.

“The things a lot of people write about me are ridiculous,” he said.

“Ultimately you are contributing to all the problems on social media by writing things like this.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to read things like this. I know how I am and the team knows how I work. I’ve always been good to the team.”

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He added: “As soon as there’s something negative it has to be highlighted, it’s very painful to be a part of it. At the end of the day I’ve done nothing wrong; it’s just people misunderstanding what’s going on.”

Verstappen said after the race in Brazil that he had “reasons” to refuse to let Perez back and that he was reacting to “something that happened in the past”.

There are reports that Verstappen believes Perez crashed on purpose at the end of qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix, an incident which prevented him from completing the final lap which would have given him a front row position.

Perez and Verstappen qualified third and fourth, with the Mexican winning the race.

A number of sources have told BBC Sport that Red Bull investigated the incident after the race and that Perez admitted he crashed on purpose.

But Perez dismissed the claim as “false”, adding: “It’s just speculation and people creating rumours. We all know what’s going on and we want to keep it within the team.”

Verstappen again refused to expand on the reasons for his actions in Brazil, saying it would “remain between me and the team” but he admitted Red Bull had made mistakes in their management of the race weekend.

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“It was about something that happened earlier in the season. “I already explained it in Mexico, and the team understood and agreed.

“We went to Brazil and I thought we’d go into the race and get the best result. We had a bit of a miscommunication on Saturday and Sunday. I wasn’t told anything about a potential swap or anything. It just came. That last lap on the radio.

“And they should already know my reaction from what I said last week.

“After the match we had a good discussion and put everything on the table and everything was resolved.

“In hindsight, we should have had that conversation earlier. I’ve never been a bad teammate, I’ve always helped a lot. The team knows that. I’ve always put the team before the team because it’s a team effort at the end of the day. What we learned on the day is that we’re a little more open.” And we need to communicate better with each other.”

However, Perez said the post-match conversation in Brazil only covered the day’s events.

Asked how long there had been an issue with Verstappen’s past actions, Perez said: “I don’t know how long it’s been there. We haven’t discussed it.”

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Red Bull said in a statement on Thursday that they had “made some mistakes in Brazil” and that the team “accepted Max’s argument”.

The statement added: “Max was only informed at the tail end of the request to step down without disclosing all the necessary information. This left Max, who has always been an open and fair team player, in a compromising position with little time to react which was not our intention.”

Inside camera footage shows Perez asking Verstappen three more times as he exited the final corner to let Perez go sixth after turning four on the final lap.

Perez was told earlier in the race to “don’t fight Max” so he could try to get ahead of the cars when the race restarted after the final safety car period.

Verstappen moved ahead of Perez but was unable to overtake Alpine’s Fernando Alonso for fifth, saying: “If we don’t pass Fernando on exit 12 can we let Checo through, please let Checo back.”

When he did not comply, he was asked: “What happened?”

He replied: “I told you guys last time, don’t ask me that again. OK? Are we clear on that? I’ve given my reasons, and I stand by it.”

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