Max Verstappen blames Red Bull as Sergio Perez misses out to Leclerc

Christian Horner on Red Bull's success and hints at next step

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Max Verstappen has pointed the finger at Red Bull as to why Sergio Perez failed to beat Charles Leclerc to the runners-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship. The Dutchman admitted the team could have done more for the Mexican during the race to help him beat the Ferrari.

Leclerc finished second on Sunday while Perez was third, ensuring the Monegasque beat the Red Bull driver to P2 in the standings by just three points. Verstappen said: “In hindsight, probably, as a team, we could have pushed a bit more on that on that middle stint for Checo but that’s always easy to say afterwards.

“At the time, we thought that we had to be a little bit careful on the tyres but again, we’ve had a lot of great weekends but even in great weekends [there is] always things that you can learn.” Verstappen made the comments a week after a team orders feud at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Red Bull had begged Verstappen to give up sixth position to ensure Perez could capitalise on extra points. However, the reigning champion flatly refused and claimed he had “reasons” for not following the request.

Regardless, the extra two points in Brazil would not have swung things in Perez’s favour. Perez agreed the team could have pushed harder in the second phase of the Grand Prix to put more pressure on Ferrari.

He commented: “We thought that the deg was going to be higher than it was and we just didn’t push as much as we should have pushed in that second stint and probably we left two seconds on the table there.” Heading into the weekend, Red Bull stressed they were committed to helping Perez beat Leclerc.

However, Verstappen hinted that he would not have slowed down to help Perez in the closing stages.

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It comes a year after Perez intentionally blocked Hamilton to help Verstappen secure his first crown. Verstappen explained: “No, there was not [a team order]. But also that is quite a tricky call to make.

“You can possibly block but I mean, is that fair racing? I think [that is] not the nicest way going out of the championship, out of the season you know? It looked like that Checo was catching him enough to try and actually get a movement and he lost quite a bit of time with that bit of a fuss between Pierre [Gasly] and Alex [Albon]. I was watching on the screen.”

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