Max Verstappen’s ‘Dog Act’ Standard Behaviour For Formula 1 World Champions

'Shows who he really is.'

max verstappen and sergio perez

Image: @RedBullRacing

2022 F1 World Champion Max Verstappen defied team orders at the Brazil Grand Prix this weekend, by refusing to let Red Bull teammate Serio Perez past him, in a move replicating previous F1 winners.

The Dutch driver, who has already won this season’s championship at October’s Japanese Grand Prix, finished in P6, one spot ahead of his teammate ‘Checo’.

Verstappen was told by the team to let Perez past on the final lap, should he not be able to overtake the car in front. After being unable to get past, Red Bull urged the 25-year-old to move aside, which he – rather selfishly – refused to do.

Perez is currently in a hotly contested battle for second place in the Driver’s Championship with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with both drivers sitting on an equal 290 points after this weekend. Finishing in P6 would have given ‘Checo’ a slight lead heading into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi this coming weekend, November 18th – 20th.

When asked by Red Bull why he did not move aside, Verstappen replied:

“I told you already last time. You guys, don’t ask that again to me. Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.”

Max Verstappen

Perez, was rightfully frustrated by the move. Speaking on Red Bull’s team radio, he succinctly stated,

“Yeah it shows who he really is.”

Sergio Perez

The Mexican driver has helped Max Verstappen out in races on a number of occasions, most notably in Verstappen’s maiden championship victory at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021. Perez held off a surging Lewis Hamilton to bring Verstappen back into contention, which the Dutchman won in controversial circumstances.

Why did Max Verstappen not give up the position in Brazil?

Max Verstappen at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen has already won the 2022 Formula One Drivers’ Championship. Image: @RedBullRacing

Speaking after the race, Perez said he had “no idea” what reasons Verstappen had for not giving him P6, saying, “Maybe you should ask him about it.”

Reflecting on how much he has helped the young driver in the past, ‘Checo’ added:

“Nothing to say really. After all I’ve done for him, it’s a bit disappointing to be honest. I’m really surprised.”

Sky Sports F1 Commentator and former Formula 1 driver, Martin Brundle thought that the incident may relate back to the Monaco Grand Prix earlier in the year. Verstappen was denied pole position after the Mexican driver crashed in qualifying, ending the session early.

Brundle said, “That’s a very powerful radio message from Max. That is, ‘I’m in charge around here I call the shots.’

“I’m pretty sure that goes back to Monaco.”

According to Red Bull Team Boss Christian Horner, ‘Checo’ and Verstappen have shaken hands and are already focused on that next race.”

But with Perez signing a new deal this year which keeps him at Red Bull until 2024, it is hard to imagine this will be the last incident between both drivers.

Déjà vu?

Sebastian Vettel (right) finished first at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix after refusing to give up place to teammate Mark Webber (left). Image: @PA

Verstappen’s brattish behaviour is not too dissimilar from F1 champions in seasons past. Team orders to give up places when world championships are at stake have often led to infighting within teams.

Perhaps the most infamous example is during the 2013 Malaysia Grand Prix, when four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel refused to give first place back to Australian Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, despite team orders to do so. The ‘multi-21’ radio call, which was Red Bull’s codeword to tell Vettel to give up the place, is etched in the memories of F1 fans across the globe.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton also refused to give up a position to teammate Nico Rosberg in the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix, despite Rosberg leading the championship at that point.

Both Vettel and Hamilton went on to win the Championship the season they defied team orders.

With Verstappen’s most recent showing in Brazil, is ignoring team orders when it matters an indicator of what it takes to become a world champion? Maybe.

However, the key difference between Verstappen’s incident and those of the past, is that Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were actively competing for world championships at the time, while the Dutchman is not.

Whatever the reasons for his actions, the Brazilian Grand Prix has left Max Verstappen looking very self-centred and has clearly rubbed a lot of his fans up the wrong way.

His attitude may be what it takes to make you a world champion, but it certainly will not win you any friends in the process.

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