Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2022

Verstappen is not bigger than the team, insists Horner after radio row

2022 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has insisted Max Verstappen is not bigger than the team after his driver refused to obey an order to let his team mate overtake him in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was repeatedly told to let Sergio Perez overtake him before the finishing line at the end of today’s race. He refused and took the chequered flag in sixth ahead of his team mate.

Perez, who is now tied for second place in the championship with Charles Leclerc, said he was “surprised” and “disappointed” by his team mate’s refusal to help him. Horner apologised to Perez on the radio after the race but later denied the incident shows Verstappen considers his interests more important than the teams.

“No we work as a team, we race as a team,” Horner told Sky. “Our objective and priority is to see if we can get Checo to finish runner-up in the championship. It’s something we’ve never achieved as a team before.

“Max has given his commitment as well and we’ll be doing the best we can in Abu Dhabi to achieve that. So it’s a straight fight between Checo and Charles and if Max can help in any way he will do.”

Verstappen said he “has his reasons” for refusing to let Perez by but declined to explain why he had done so. Horner did not elaborate on Verstappen’s reasons for ignoring the team’s order.

“I’m not going to go into what we discussed behind closed doors,” he said. “The drivers have discussed it, they’ve shaken hands and we’re absolutely focused on on that next race.”

He said the two drivers have cleared the air following the disagreement. “We discussed these things internally, the drivers have obviously spoken about it as well, they’re very, very clear.

“For us Checo’s now tied on points with Charles. Ferrari didn’t switch their cars around. 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.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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96 comments on “Verstappen is not bigger than the team, insists Horner after radio row”

  1. These situations in which asking a driver to sacrifice a place to his teammate are always tricky.

    I think Max was hard done by the penalty for the contact with Lewis and carried that frustration throughout the race.

    Doesn’t justify him not giving the place. But any lower position on the stats is a stain to the kind of season he is having and obviously he wants to leave a high benchmark.

    The only thing that I can think of is with Sergio helping him out by holding Lewis up in Abu Dhabhi last year, this would hv been the perfect payback if the 2nd position comes down to this result.

    1. Spain this year the team told Perez they were on different strategies when they WERE NOT so as to have Perez move out of the way more easily. Red Bull is a one man team and everybody knows that.

      Verstappen can pretend on his head his title worth more, but in reality he has not to worry about a team mate besting him since Baku 2018, because Ricciardo was pretty much done to Red Bull after that, car breaking down at least once every weekend and stuff like that.

      1. Ricciardo’s car was breaking down every other race in 2018, verstappen’s in 2017, that’s bad luck, not a conspiracy.

        1. Not true. I see people saying that on the net all the time, by the way, as if Ric only beat Max in ’17 because of reliability.
          Max’s car was failing him a lot on the FIRST HALF of 2017 ONLY. The 2nd half was Ric’s turn. He was going to finish that season ahead of Kimi on a much inferior car but ended up losing because it was breaking all the time later in the season.

          And then the trend continued in 2018. All in all, Ric had more failures by a considerable margin. Had 2 podiums in ’18 only, the races he won. Was retirinh or starting from the back because of failures more often than not.

      2. Bad luck + not very reliable car ofc.

    2. So there was an order from the team, it’s pretty clear. I don’t think the order came from Gianpiero Lambiase, do you Christian? It was about Checo fighting for points outside the podium after Max’s race was ruined and you knew that otherwise you wouldn’t have given the order.

      What was Max worried about losing conceding position to Checo on this occasion?

      It comes across to me as massive entitlement. “Checo is a legend” – but only when it suits him.

      Not one of Max’s finest races.

    3. Prab, normally the situations can be tricky, but this wasn’t one of them. Perez was leading Verstappen quite legitimately when the team told him to let Max through, and said that if Max was also unable to pass Alonso then they’d swap them back again before the end of the race. It is nothing to do with repaying favours for Abu Dhabi or whatever, it is about what happened a few laps earlier when Perez followed team orders to Max’s advantage.

      I’ll also point out that on the C4 coverage, they had an interview with Christian Horner who said that having secured the WDC and the WCC, the team’s top priority now was to do everything it could to get its number two driver into second place in the championship, something it has never achieved before.

      1. Verstappen was way faster, would’ve passed him anyway, didn’t you see that pretty much alonso was running on leclerc’s pace and flew past perez, and verstappen was a bit faster than alonso? Makes no sense to say he only got past because his team told him!

        1. @Esplatore, maybe Max would have passed Perez if the team hadn’t told Perez to let him through, or maybe Max would have tried to bully Perez out of the way and taken them both out, we’ll never know. Team orders came into play at that point, and Max got a clean uncontested pass. The team orders yesterday were quite clear, and the team had also made it’s remaining objective quite clear before the race, that it wants Perez to finish in second place in the WDC. Team orders are not a polite request to the driver, not something up for debate. I don’t like team orders, and I don’t like the constant chatter over the radio, but nevertheless, I cannot remember a more blatant and public disregard of team orders for many a year.

        2. @esploratore That doesn’t really matter. Perez was told to let Verstappen past and if he couldn’t overtake Alonso and Leclerc he’d give the place back. He didn’t get close to overtaking Alonso and then petulantly refused to give the place back.

          Without Perez help in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen would likely not have “1” on his car today. Verstappen has a very short memory. Or he has a childish grudge for Monaco. Or his ego is so fragile, he thinks the prospect of his teammate finishing P2 in the WDC somehow diminishes his championship.

      2. immediately trying to change the subject. pathetic.

    4. The best of all this is…. that is not over yet… Merc is back with a strong car and a strong pair of drivers… lets see what happens if/when next year there is a race where Max needs help from Checo.. there will be a payback, there will be grudges

    5. It’s not “tricky” when one driver’s championship position is secure and the other is still fighting to give the team a 1-2 for the season. The 2 point swing makes no difference to Max, but could cost Checo that runner up spot in the championship. Checo moved over for Max because he was told to, and the agreement was if Max could not catch and pass Alonso before the end he would give the place back. That in itself made no sense because a 5th position was also of zero importance to Max – he didn’t need to pass Alonso or anyone else, he already had the championship sewn up. When Max then failed to acknowledge the instruction to give the place back after it was repeated several times, the fact that Christian Horner didn’t get on the radio and issue the order himself just confirms what we already knew… Horner is a weakling with instructions from above to make sure Max Verstappen gets whatever Max Verstappen wants. He displayed the same abject cowardice over the “multi 2 1” scenario with Vettel and Webber. Max had absolutely nothing to gain by his behaviour and did it out of pure childish spite. Red Bull needs a team pricipal with the cajones to tell drivers “You’re an employee and I’m your boss… do as you’re told or you’re fired.”

  2. “Max has given his commitment as well and we’ll be doing the best we can in Abu Dhabi to achieve that. So it’s a straight fight between Checo and Charles and if Max can help in any way he will do.”

    But He won’t as He has his reasons ….

    1. His reasons are due to expire early this week before the Grand Prix.

  3. It’ll be fun watching CH when Verstappen stamps his foot and screams, then falls on the floor in a tantrum. DTS next season will be funny.

    1. That’s even faker than the narrative you’ll find from Christian. PLEASE! – Spot the yank or teenager.

  4. Horner will do nothing. Just as he did nothing over Multi-21.

    Red Bull has always played favorites, and in every case, the anointed golden boy (whether Vettel or Verstappen) knows he can do what he wants without consequences, because Horner lacks the spine to stand up to him.

    1. My thoughts exactly…..

    2. This guy knows

    3. Horner said it, so you know it’s false – there’s no way they would fire him for disobeying orders, Max IS “The Team”. Winning in F1 is now pretty much just down to youngsters, so should be no surprise we see a lot of immature behavior. And in Max’s case, I fault his upbringing by “The Boss” as resulting in his entitled, spoiled, crap eating grin personality.

  5. The average internet comment section loves to pounce on Max whenever they can. While I don’t think that should influence his behaviour, but I do hope that he’ll reflect on this in a few years and realise he could’ve done himself and the team a bigger favour – even if he has his reasons.

    1. It’s not in his personality. Max is the greatest driver ever, and everyone should get out of his way.

      That’s been his mentality for years.

      1. Every driver on the grid is confident that they are capable of beating all their rivals, that can’t be the only reason people don’t like Verstappen. I think it’s rather his elbows out driving style which is brutal, sometimes on (and sometimes over) the edge that seems to offend people, in part because it gets him where he needs to be.

        The thing was trying to say: I think we’ve seen him grow a lot as a driver over the years. As a person however he still has a few things to learn. Definitely if a weekend or a race doesn’t go his way, that’s when he seems to be more on edge. All this is wasted energy during and after and that doesn’t help him.
        Even if the monaco-thing is true I don’t know why he needs to make a point about it half a year later in a race between 6th and 7th place. No mater how much I can see why he’s offended by Ted Kravitz pushing his AD2021 thoughts and opinions, you can’t boycot them ‘because it creates keyboard warriors’ and the next race do something silly which will only have the same effect.

    2. Acting in the best interests of the team isn’t doing them a “favour”… it’s his job.

  6. Water is dry.
    – Christian Horner

    1. COTD right here

    2. Oh boy this comment carries a lot of weight but is true.

  7. Checo doesn’t want to loose his drive, Horner knows Max is the new Schumacher, it’s my way or the high way, the end justifies the means, at least they don’t need to pretend it’s a team game , All hail the conquering hero. If they really shook hands Checo needs to check Max didn’t slip him his P45., many more compliant donkeys waiting in the wings.

    1. You’re right that’s why when Alpha Max couldn’t win the 2021 Champion ship by him self he went crying for Checo’s help

    2. I also think verstappen is the new schumacher, but schumacher in the hour of need also helped his team mates and let them past a couple times.

    3. I accused Danny Ricc of bottling it when he jumped ship from Red Bull, but I take it back. It’s a one man team and you can’t succeed there if you’re not the “Chosen One”.

  8. Ok, Verstappen was utterly ungrateful for what Perez did for him last year.
    But I’m baffled about all this fuss over a frigging 2nd place on the WDC. It has absolutely no value. Both Perez and Leclerc radios were embarrassingly laughable to me.

    You want something? Go take it.
    You were ungrateful? Do not expect more favours.
    And that’s it.

    1. Maybe either or both have a bonus in their contract for a 2nd place in the WDCs?

      Pathetic pleas nonetheless, I agree with that.

    2. There may be contract incentives for where a driver places in a season. Your first or nothing mentality is why many people saw nothing wrong with Masi’s decision last year even though it impact SAI and RIC the most as they had to hold their positions on the restart because who cares if SAI could have caught HAM for 2nd or if RIC, on fresh tires, could have finished 10th.

      1. @jimfromus – You do understand contract bonuses matter to Perez, and Perez alone, do you?
        You also understand the farce that occurred at Abu Dhabi is a matter of ignoring rules and proceedings, yes?

        What I do not understand is why you come by linking two unrelated episodes and still trying to lecture me on how I perceive things.

        Get a grip, dude.

        1. He means perez in abu dhabi defended hard against hamilton on old tyres, making him lose a few crucial seconds that prevented hamilton from stopping when the VSC came and coming out ahead of verstappen.

        2. What about Sergio’s mechanics? They might have bonuses riding on 2nd place too.

    3. Leclerc is “whiny Leclerc” for me since now on. He was utterly pathetic.

    4. It means a lot to the team, the guys who put in the actual elbow great and Perez too I’m sure. It’s literally about the team. Besides, how many times has Perez sacrificed his ENTIRE race just to help Max let alone sacrificed something small to help out Max? Often, very, very often.

      Bedside,Max had nothing to gain and everything to lose doing what he did.

    5. To be fair the only comment I heard from Checo was at the end of the race, and it was not begging but an ironic “Thank you guys”.

    6. I disagree. I think it does have value if the team has never had a 1-2 in the championship. It would be a massive feather in everyone’s cap, not just the drivers.

  9. Horner is going to have a private conversation with Perez just like he had with Webber prior to China 2013 : “tough luck. Close the door when you leave”

  10. Shall we look at Red Bull’s alternatives as a driver?

    Yeah, there are none. So zip it, Christian, or be left fending for 7th with Checo as your lead driver.

    1. S’pose Leclerc would fancy a go
      Or pretty much any other driver from any other team bar Mercedes.
      While I understand it’s not going to happen and Horner will bend over backwards for Max up to a point (a point still some way in the distance, and one which Max probably isn’t childish enough to reach) still – when you are the best team on the grid there are always alternatives.
      Unless we assume that Max is a head and shoulders above all other drivers in the world, but every genius somehow ends up having a rival or two innit

    2. @proesterchen So after golden boy’s bragging about deliberately crashing into LH, maybe MV will get a well deserved racing ban, and after all, any driver, including my granny, could win in that car. Or at least that was the common argument from RB/MV fans when LH was winning in the MB.

      1. Schumacher was disqualified from the entire season when he did it to Villeneuve. The FIA no longer has that kind of integrity. When people know they can get away with [I’ll say *liberally interpreting the rules* to save the moderator’s blushes], guess what they will do…

      2. Has he really said he did it deliberately? I mean, it looked that way to me, but has he really bragged about it? Well, he knows he won’t get anything serious bercause the powers that be have already decided that a 5 second “penalty” is just what’s needed to make sure he never does it again.

        1997… now that was a year when a penalty for a deliberate crash actually meant something.

    3. Alonso could easily win in that car.

      1. Alonso could easily win on a tricycle. Unfortunately they gave him a skateboard.

  11. Checo has given tows during qualifying for Max, apparently had to run a set of softs in practice for the team to see how they performed for Max, and yet Max has reasons to not give up that spot?

    1. Maybe you’re not aware but you get eight points for sixth and only six points for seventh. Two points! That’s a lot of reasons right there.

      1. I’m really hoping that was sarcasm, but on here… you never know. ;-)

  12. I think, after this, Perez is going to be less likely to play the team game. You expect some give and take in that, and Verstappen has just shown he’s all take…

    1. Checo is a pay driver in the WCC-winning team and only managed to come home second behind his teammate 5 out of 14 times this year.

      1. Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head, @proesterchen. Checo knows to toe the line. He’s not going to do a Webber. He knows which side his bread’s buttered.

        There, that’s four idioms. I feel happy now.

        1. @shimks +100 for ‘toe’ the line – I’ve seen ‘tow’ too many times!

          1. I’m glad that you’re glad that he knows it’s toe.
            I just hope you don’t think it has anything to do with swords and Parliament. :-)

  13. Webber, Ricciardo… now Perez.

    1. Threw away his chance at a Championship.

      Never had a chance at a Championship.

      Will struggle to fight for a Championship even under 1999-like circumstances.

      1. Well, at least ricciardo at red bull was much better than irvine, even barrichello would’ve won in 1999.

      2. So I think even perez could’ve won that.

  14. So there was an order from the team, it’s pretty clear. I don’t think the order came from Gianpiero Lambiase, do you Christian? It was about Checo fighting for points outside the podium after Max’s race was ruined and you knew that otherwise you wouldn’t have given the order.

    What was Max worried about losing conceding position to Checo on this occasion?

    It comes across to me as massive entitlement. “Checo is a legend” – but only when it suits him.

    Not one of Max’s finest races.

  15. …and Max will fully support that.

    Narrator: “Max did not fully support that…”

  16. How about calling the team a “Max Bull team” for 2023 season?

    1. max bully team is more reasonable

    2. It sparks of reminders of Vettel and Webber. The Bond villain and Christian knew where their consistent no. 2 lie in Mark Webber but we all know after how that went and examples of previous teams like Schumi & Barichello, Hamilton & Botass that it doesn’t last forever and this is CLEARLY a little small something Max couuld’ve done for his subservient teammate and the petulant child point blank refused.

      Pathetic.

    3. Max Bull… something.

  17. Let’s break down Verstappen’s response to his engineer today.

    I couldn’t fully make it out, does anyone have an official quote yet?

    It sounded to me like he was referring to a meeting with the team and in that meeting he refused to move over for Checo. I can only assume this meeting was about the Mexican GP, Checo’s home race.

    Max is just the greedy kid who ends up with noone wanting to play with him. He can’t ask his dad for help either for obvious reasons.

    1. Golden Elephant
      14th November 2022, 7:39

      Apparently Max believes Checo intencionally crashed in Monte Carlo to keep his grid position. I dunno if it’s the reason Max mentioned but I think the optics are terrible. He’s the WDC and his teammate needs a hand for the second day in row (Checo asked the team to let swich postions on Sutarday as well) and Max decided not to help his teammate.

      If Mercedes keeps this pace next year, Max will need Checo’s help quite often and this could chnage the dyamics of their relationship.

    2. It was really strange and Brundell was talking about Monaco Qualify which was new to me too. I think we will know after a few years. I was more thinking Perez was so far behind Max couldn’t give the place back without stopping on track.

  18. I’m a huge fan of Max’s talent and perseverance, but that was weak from him today.

    After all that Checo has done for him this season and last season, why not give him that place that doesn’t mean ANYTHING to himself, anyway?

    1. like the Queens of the Stoneage song mate:

      Noone Knows

    2. After all that Checo has done for him this season and last season, why not give him that place that doesn’t mean ANYTHING to himself, anyway?

      If it is the case that belonging to a team that achieves their first one two in the WDC doesn’t mean anything to Max, then that is sad indeed.

    3. Same boat here. He is making not like him anymore.

      1. He is making not like him anymore.

        Welcome to reality, and group 2

        I think there are three groups of people:
        1. Realise immediately what he is
        2. Realise eventually what he is
        3. The mentally blind who will never realise what he is

  19. Lovely to see Horner and Sky are talking again. They deserve each other.

  20. While verstappen was trying to get alonso and leclerc, then had to settle with a low chance on alonso because they were almost on his pace (which makes me think it was mercedes > ferrari\red bull performance wise this weekend), I would’ve tried till the straight to overtake alonso at his place, and seeing it wasn’t happening, would’ve braked, he had nothing to lose, 6th or 7th isn’t anything special with a red bull, however I would’ve considered this a favour to perez, in the sense verstappen was a lot faster and could’ve passed him anyway, didn’t need team orders: alonso flew past perez too.

    1. Problem is you can’t break near the finnish which i thought was the problem.

    2. It’s not a favour when it’s your job. RB have a chance for a 1-2 in the championship and Max may have thrown that away. And for what? He could have been a hero, but all he’s succeeded in doing is guarantee that he’ll never get any help from any team mate ever again.

  21. Save it, Christian. No one has seriously believed that since Baku 2018, and frankly, I don’t even blame Max.

    He got into F1 when he was still a kid, and he’s been fostered in an environment where no one has the courage to call him out on his mistakes, so of course Max turned out like this.
    I thought that Horner directly apologizing to Perez on the radio would’ve led to an internal punishment for Max, but nope, the hand-waving shows that Horner and Marko still have learned nothing all these years.

    1. Hearing the interview after the Race i think Max was changed of mind harsh if you watch his reaction. Marko is scary when angry so i think something was said against Max and Max don’t like that very much.

  22. He’ll only have his mum to thank when his dad is no longer there

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRwYQgk05DY

  23. my father made me hide in fields past 12am roll around fearful of somomeone

  24. no wonder im scared

  25. Checo literally won Max the title last season…dude could’nt give him a hand here…shame.

  26. Bedswearver groomed this Neanderthal and has live with whatever comes his way.

  27. Comes across as this could have been handled a lot better by Max. I get the totally unfair penalty frustration and him being fed up to be surrounded by people who do not understand the essence of racing, but still.

  28. Multi 21 deja vue…

  29. So much cried from Perez and Leclerk
    Remind them second is the first of losers

  30. It is called Red Bull for a reason. Red Bulls just don’t have the same ring to it. They can give you wings but asking for a pair of wings is too much. As said in the internet. “There can only be one bull for all the cows.”

    1. And this year’s prize for the most tortured analogy goes to…

  31. Little else to say beyond that Verstappen comes across as a thoroughly unpleasant person. The difference between him and the likes of Russell, Hamilton, Leclerc, Norris, Sainz etc. is stark.

    I’m constantly impressed with how Perez handles being in the same team as Verstappen. He doesn’t let him bother him at all.

  32. According to the site below, “As far as the race goes, Marko insists that Perez was not close enough to Verstappen for them to make the swap. However, he added that if they did decide to switch positions between the two Red Bull drivers, Verstappen would not fight them.
    This was said after the sprint. RB saying that if the team decides to switch positions during the race VER would not fight them. And yet a day later, what happened. If PER thinks VER is going to help him this weekend, I’ve got some crypto to sell him.
    https://thesportsrush.com/f1-news-checo-wasnt-close-enough-red-bull-chief-explains-why-max-verstappen-didnt-swap-positions-with-sergio-perez-at-interlagos/

  33. While the blame is on Max, I wonder how much of this is RB’s fault as well. This is not a new thing–recall ‘Multi-21’?

    Also, why wasn’t Christian or Marko telling Max to let Checo pass him back? The whole incident makes the team look weak. It’s one thing for a driver to argue about their own pit strategy or tyre compound. That is decision that largely, though not entirely, impacts the driver. But to disregard a direct order about team business? If I were RB mgmt, there would be at least a serious discussion if not already consequences.

    Let us not forget, Max in any other car this season is not a title winner. There are a number of drivers you could put in the 2022 RB who could have won. It was a foolish decision on Max’s part, imo. But we’ll see if RB have made that clear to him or not.

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