Max Verstappen confesses to never playing team game with personal agenda key behind letting Sergio Perez through

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez endured a fallout during the 2022 season and their relationship has never quite been the same again.

While a number of nasty things were said by both drivers about their teammate, many believed that they had put it behind them as Max surged to his third successive world championship.

Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen. Credit:
Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen. Credit:

Max appeared to have turned a corner when he allowed Checo through to take his pit stop first at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but the Dutchman has now revealed his personal agenda in allowing the Mexican through.

Verstappen made the decision of allowing Perez through purely to give himself the best possible chance of breaching the 1000 laps led mark for the 2023 season.

Eventually, Verstappen won a staggering 19 out of 22 Grand Prix to set a new record in the F1 championship.

He broke countless other records through the course of the season and his dominance was clear for everyone to see.

Verstappen may well have had the best car on the track, but his consistency won him plenty of plaudits over the course of the season.

After he lost to Perez in the street race in Baku, Verstappen won 17 of the remaining races, with the Singapore Grand prix proving to be the only race in which he slipped up following a Q2 exit.

Speaking with Blick, Verstappen confessed why he decided to play what many thought was a team game by allowing Perez the opportunity to come in for his pit stop first.

“Well, it was simple,” Verstappen said.

“I wanted to stay out longer so as not to jeopardise my 1000 laps in the lead.”

As things panned out, this worked perfectly for Verstappen.

He went on to take the chequered flag at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to end his season in grand style and eventually led the rest of the field for 1003 laps.

Perez, meanwhile, finished with 146 laps in the lead whereas no other driver was able to breach the 100 mark.

Read more: Former F1 engineer dubs Lance Stroll ‘most difficult driver to work with’ due to incorrigible behaviour away from cameras

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