Verstappen cagey after ignoring team orders in fraught Brazil GP

Carl Bingham/Motorsport Images

Verstappen cagey after ignoring team orders in fraught Brazil GP

Formula 1

Verstappen cagey after ignoring team orders in fraught Brazil GP

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Max Verstappen will not publicly give his reasons for ignoring a team order to give a place back to Sergio Perez in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix but insists he is willing to help his teammate in future.

Perez was ahead of Verstappen with five laps remaining but struggling for pace, and the world champion was recovering from contact with Lewis Hamilton when he overtook his teammate but was told he’d have to return the position if he made no further progress. On the final lap, Verstappen was close behind Fernando Alonso but unable to overtake and was reminded to give the place back to Perez but refused.

Verstappen took to team radio to say: “I told you already last time, you guys don’t ask that again to me, OK? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.”

After the race, the Dutchman then stated he had again explained his stance to Red Bull but would not make them public.

“That’s why I first went to speak to the team before I came here, and we put everything on the table why, and I gave my reasons,” Verstappen told Sky Sports. “I’m not going to say why, but I think they understood. And I’ve already explained it to them before, so it was not new to me and it was not new to them.

“I think it’s more important as a team now that we reset together — all together — and we really put everything on the table, and importantly we move forwards; we go to Abu Dhabi. Of course I want to win the race, but also if there is a chance to help Checo, I will. But that’s why it’s important we had this meeting now. I understand why he’s disappointed, but they also have to understand why I did it, and I did explain the reasons why.

“It was finally good that we all sat together and I think we are professional enough to move forward… I guess (it was accepted) — we are not babies.”

Asked if it had anything to do with the Monaco Grand Prix this year, where Perez won having started third after crashing on his final Q3 run, Verstappen replied: “You can decide that; I’m not going to say.”

Verstappen blames Hamilton for this contact at Interlagos, yet he won’t say what’s behind the intra-team rift at Red Bull Racing… Steve Etherington/Motorsport Images

Verstappen’s controversy in Brazil reared its head even earlier in the race after he was given a 5s time penalty for colliding with Hamilton at Turn 2.

“To be honest, I went round the outside and I immediately felt he was not going to leave space, so I just went for it,” he explained. “He did not leave space, so I knew we were going to get together. It cost him the race win. For me, it gave me 5s. It would not have mattered…for my race because we were just way too slow. But it’s just a shame, I thought we could race quite well together but clearly the intention was not there to race.”

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