column | Red Bull should have stopped Verstappen’s childish behavior towards Perez

It doesn’t look like Max Verstappen is able or willing to finish the 2022 season without controversy. This year, the Red Bull Racing driver naturally became world champion without any problems and the battle for this title was intense. Now that it is clear that the Austrian racing stable has run over the budget and Mercedes can once again compete for victories, the Red Bull driver is once again involved in several riots. Where Verstappen has been lauded for most of the season, the driver has now suffered significant image damage, but that of course doesn’t bother him too much.

After the Mexican Grand Prix, which Verstappen managed to win, he won Sky SportsBoycotting the Red Bull team is, of course, a moot point. The driver and the racing stable were not happy with Ted Kravitz’s remarks and decided not to speak to the transmitter for an entire day. It mainly resulted in some surprised looks and or Sky Sports In fact, she learned from her “mistake” is very doubtful. At least it gave Lewis Hamilton fans enough ammunition to mock Verstappen and Red Bull on Twitter. No-nonsense trend since then campaign to survive It got worse.

Verstappen is of course known in Formula 1 as the driver you can love or the driver you can despise. There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to a world champion. People who disliked Verstappen before this weekend have received confirmation in Brazil of their inability to tolerate the driver. Verstappen didn’t let team-mate Sergio Perez pass the P6 during the Brazilian Grand Prix, despite Mexico’s Charles Leclerc battling it out for second place in the championship. An act that rightly came in for a lot of criticism. After all, Verstappen is showing that he still has enough steps to take in the sport.

It’s nice that Verstappen doesn’t hand out gifts, but that went too far

Of course, Verstappen actually secured his second world title during the Japanese Grand Prix. There, the driver has already made it clear that he will not just give gifts to his teammates. This is a statement that I fully support. If you want to win, you have to do everything yourself. But in the ensuing races Perez never came close to winning and there was always someone between him and Verstappen. Thus, the four-time winner of the race did not give his teammate the opportunity to distribute gifts at all.

At Interlagos it was Verstappen’s first chance to pay back for all the times Perez helped him out. It comes to P6, the Dutchman already has his world title in his pocket and Red Bull has won the constructors’ title, so it’s perfect timing to work towards the common goal; Help Perez to second place in the championship. I thought it was strange that Verstappen was allowed to pass his teammate to attack Leclerc and Fernando Alonso, but at least there was something in return. If it didn’t work out, you’d finish 7th. But in Verstappen’s brain, the thoughts were a little different. Somehow it really disappointed me.

Perez, of course, is not at the level of Verstappen. The driver wouldn’t admit it publicly at that speed, but of course he knows it himself. In 2021, he has no choice but to help his teammate. If you can’t get the points on your own, you have to help the team and your teammate settle in. While drivers are truly selfish in almost every way, they also need to consider the best interests of the team. It seems that realization should sink in for a while at Verstappen, because of course the two-time world champion can only achieve the honor this season by winning races.

After the collision with Lewis Hamilton, it was already impossible at the Interlagos circuit, so it is not surprising that Red Bull asked him to consider Perez. He’s still fighting for something, even if it’s just a practically meaningless second place. Giving up sixth place doesn’t hurt Verstappen’s image, but his selfish decision not to give up the spot does. Giving up those two points was the least Verstappen could do after Abu Dhabi last year.

Red Bull must manage the driver

Verstappen’s decision at Interlagos appears to have been born out of pure spite for Perez’s move at Monaco. There, the guy from Guadalajara had deliberately put his car into the wall to prevent Verstappen from standing on top of him in qualifying. According to Eric van Haren, Perez also admitted that if all of this turned out to be true, then it was an unfortunate act on the part of the driver. Just putting your mate down in a title fight just to show that you too can be a title contender is way too low. An intentional breakdown is nothing but a service to the team that just renewed your contract. To worry about it as long as Verstappen is of course too childish.

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Letting each other know how it’s done, shaking hands and getting on again shouldn’t be that hard in my opinion. However, Verstappen seems to have the memory of an elephant and is stubborn as a donkey. By getting your gram during a meaningless Brazilian Grand Prix for Red Bull, you’re taking away your entire reputation in one go. It’s admirable that the outside world has no effect on Verstappen, but sometimes he has to take a step back. He’s here for himself, but also for Red Bull. Helmut Marko put all his money on a 17-year-old driver with hardly any car racing experience. That confidence has paid off and Verstappen could have repaid it by listening to the team’s wishes.

Red Bull of course could have played a better role in this whole situation. It was appropriate to give a quick speech to Perez and then distribute the punishment to him. Now there should also be measures for Verstappen’s behaviour. You work together as a team and then as a Red Bull player you just have to dare to be tough. Otherwise, you’re going to get a situation where Verstappen plays with his judge, and now trust within the organisation is broken. The Austrian racing team has already let it go twice with the rivalry between Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. If Red Bull wants to enjoy the same dominance as between 2010 and 2013, they need to quickly clamp down on this childish behaviour. Verstappen should never be bigger than the team, even if he is Verstappen. Prevention is better than insurance, as it turns out.

On the Baku street circuit, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen’s relationship has reached a boiling point. Will we see that happen again between Verstappen and Sergio Perez?

Perez crash questionable, but also intentional?

I wrote earlier an analysis of Perez’s crash during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix and it’s very likely that she was spinning on purpose. However, I have some caveats to this conclusion. First, it was about the P3. I understand that track position is vital in Monaco, but I would never understand why a driver would put his reputation on the line to start from third for so short. Secondly, what Perez did was very risky. Going backwards into a wall can have many consequences for the gearbox. Then you risk another penalty in the net and then you’re away from home. So while the crash was certainly suspect, it’s hard to say if it was actually intentional. We must hear it from Perez himself, but perhaps no one will dare to ask this question.

If it was an intentional accident, it is also a disgrace to everything Perez has done for Verstappen. Limburger was of course able to become a champion, but an intentional crash is just too sad. Flavio Briatore is still banned from the field after killing Nelson Piquet Jr. Sacrificed for the victory of Fernando Alonso. In addition, Perez himself should not exaggerate his importance. “He owes me these two world titles,” said the four-time race winner. Sure, he was the champion in Abu Dhabi, but he didn’t take enough points away from Hamilton and Mercedes for the rest of the season. This year Verstappen was untouchable and didn’t need Perez. That move against Leclerc in Japan was nice, but not decisive. Emotions do something to a person.

Verstappen should learn from this

Of course Verstappen wouldn’t read that column, and even if he did, he wouldn’t take it seriously. Verstappen is who he is and I have all the respect for that. Most Formula 1 legends weren’t the perfect son-in-law either. You have to do it, or else everyone is going to walk all over you and you won’t win any championships. Just look at Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes (sorry, Bottas). However, I hope Verstappen reflects on this moment and learns from it. The whole situation that has now been created is simply unnecessary. Everything could have been so much nicer. Of course you feel sad when you finish seventh, but the bet on the back and the confidence of your teammate is much more important.

If Verstappen wants to be seen as one of Formula 1’s greats, he must not do so in the future. Of course, Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna won world titles by knocking their rival off the track, but they certainly also earned a reputation. Schumacher gave away his victory in 2002 as a gift to his teammate. Ferrari still had balls at the time, though there might have been a few, and picked their first driver in Austria. Rubens Barrichello handed the win to his teammate just before the finish line and Schumacher did it to the Brazilian in the USA. Verstappen can often show that he’s not just a ruthless winner. He’s shown his sportsmanship often enough this season when he pulled away and won again. Then ceding the sixth spot to your teammates isn’t that hard. I trust Verstappen has learned from this and is behind us forever.

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