Jenson Button on Max Verstappen’s refusal to let Sergio Perez overtake him in Brazil: “You’ve got to ask Red Bull, if they have discussed this beforehand as Max said then why are they asking him to do it in the race?”
Last Updated: 14/11/22 8:30pm
Jenson Button says he was left “amazed” at Red Bull’s drivers exchanging furious radio messages after Max Verstappen refused to allow Sergio Perez past him on the final lap of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
An angry Perez suggested “this shows who he really is” in reaction to Verstappen denying him a clear path to P6 on the final lap and in turn hindering his team-mates’ chances of finishing second in the Drivers’ Championship.
Upon refusing to let Perez through, back-to-back champion Verstappen had insisted on team radio “I gave my reasons”, seemingly pointing to previous discussions with Red Bull ahead of the race.
Former F1 champion Jenson Button believes the 25-year-old missed an easy opportunity to come away in a positive light.
“I’m more amazed by Checo’s comment, I love it, ‘shows who he really is’,” said Button on Any Driven Monday. “It’s a tricky one because we just hear one side of it, we don’t hear what his reasons are.
“It doesn’t come across well, and when you hear his comments saying ‘no I’m not letting him past, I’ve got my reasons’, if we don’t hear the reasons we think Max is being selfish, he’s not thinking about the team or his team-mate.
“I did see something in the media, I don’t know if it’s factual, but I think he was very upset about the Monaco Grand Prix qualifying where Checo ended up in the wall.
“Maybe that’s his reason for not wanting to give the place up to Checo because it hurt his qualifying in Monaco and maybe he thought Checo found the wall easier than he should have.”
Red Bull chief Christian Horner said after the race that the team would prioritise trying to secure second place for Perez in this weekend’s Abu Dhabi finale.
“Max could have come out of this so well, the world champion letting his team-mate past so he can fight for second in the championship,” Button added.
“You’ve got to ask Red Bull, if they have discussed this beforehand as Max said then why are they asking him to do it in the race?
“It feels like they haven’t discussed it properly before the race weekend as a team and that seems like a bigger issue, it seems Red Bull have put themselves in this situation which definitely is negative marketing.
“It’s a real shame because like I say it could have been a perfect end to the race. The mistake in the early part of the race with Lewis was an incident we didn’t want to see, but to come out and say ‘here you go Checo, here’s a couple of points and now you’re second in the championship, we’re going to finish first and second’, it’s awesome.
“But that story is not the story we have.”