Verstappen clears the air, ready to help Perez in Abu Dhabi

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Max Verstappen says he cleared the air with his Red Bull team after his blatant dismissal of a team order in the Brazilian Grand Prix and will help teammate Sergio Perez in Abu Dhabi if necessary.

Verstappen was running in sixth position in the closing laps of the race, just ahead of Perez when he was instructed to hand the position to his teammate to allow him to score an extra point and maintain his runner-up spot in the Drivers' championship versus Ferrari's Charles Leclerc who finished fourth.

But Verstappen ignored the call, much to the surprise of Perez, his loyal teammate who has lent him a helping hand in many races in the past.

Verstappen justified his attitude on the radio to his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase: "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."

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Red Bull team boss Christian Horner apologized to Perez, but the Mexican was clearly unhappy with the Dutchman's uncompromising behaviour, telling his engineer that "it shows who he really is".

After Sunday's race there were suggestions by the Dutch media that Verstappen's behaviour was pay back for this year's Monaco Grand Prix, where Perez had crashed at the end of qualifying and triggered a red flag that deprived Verstappen of a final chance to snatch pole.

At the time, the Verstappen camp had inferred that Perez's crash had been deliberate to protect his pole position for a race that he would go on to win the following day.

But in the media pen on Sunday, Verstappen gave nothing away about the reasons for his refusal to obey the team order.

"Well, I have my reasons for that," said the 2022 world champion. "We just discussed that, and I think it was better that we finally sat together and spoke about it, and just moved forward from here.

"For sure, if we go to Abu Dhabi and he needs the points, because they’re tied, it’s not the end of the world, it’s all about who finishes ahead anyway. If he needs the help, I’ll be there.

"But it’s good that we talked about it now and basically cleared everything that was there why I didn’t do it."

Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko admitted to being surprised by Verstappen's refusal as it was made clear inside the team that its priority is to secure a 1-2 in the Drivers' championship.

"Red Bull's goal is to take second place in the championship with Checo, and Max must do everything he can to help him with that.

"That's all I want to say about it," said Marko.

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