Red Bull draws the line: Verstappen 'committed' to helping Perez


Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has drawn the line under his outfit's team order scuffle with Max Verstappen in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix.

In the closing stages of F1's penultimate race in Sao Paulo while running sixth, Verstappen was asked to let teammate Sergio Perez through to allow the Mexican to score an extra point to protest Red Bull's 1-2 in the Drivers' standings.

But the Dutchman turned a deaf ear to the request. When asked on the cool-down lap by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase what happened, an authoritative Verstappen said:

"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."

Perez was surprised by his teammate's snub, not only because there was nothing at stake for Verstappen personally, but also because the Mexican has, on command in the past, often sacrificed a position in a race for the Dutchman's benefit.

"After all I've done for him, it's a bit disappointing to be honest," said Perez.

But Horner says the situation inside his team was diffused immediately during a post-race discussion behind closed doors during which Verstappen recognized his mistake and vowed to help Perez in Abu Dhabi next weekend if necessary.

"We discussed it behind closed doors, the drivers have discussed it," Horner told the media at Interlagos.

"As a team, our focus – going into Abu Dhabi, with Charles and Checo tied on points – is to do our best that we can to support Checo, to achieve second place.

"Max has obviously made that commitment as well so, as far as we're concerned, it's about looking forward, not looking backwards."

Historically, Red Bull has never enjoyed a 1-2 finish in the Drivers' championship, which makes that objective all the more important in Horner's eyes.

"As a team – and Max has made that clear as well – whatever we can do to achieve [second for Perez in the championship], as a team, we will," said the Briton.

"It's something that we've never achieved as a team previously, even in the V8 era, so it's going to be an exciting Abu Dhabi for other dynamics, fighting for second in the championship this year.

"I think the drivers are all very clear," he added.

"They know what the objective is, they've cleared the air with each other, they've shaken hands, and we focus on the next race in Abu Dhabi."

Horner would not be drawn on explaining the reasons for Verstappen's attitude.

"I'm not going to disclose what's discussed behind closed doors," he said.

But the understanding in the paddock was that the Dutchman's snub was payback for Perez deliberately - according to Dutch media - crashing at the end of qualifying in Monaco back in May.

At the time, the Mexican's crash triggered a red flag and an early end to the session, which left Perez on pole and Verstappen without a final flyer to snatch the fastest time from his teammate.

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