Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have had an amicable relationship ever since the controversial moment in the penultimate race of the season, but is it just a public gimmick?
Red Bull had instructed Verstappen to allow Perez through in the final lap as he continued his quest to finish second in the drivers’ standings.
However, Verstappen turned down this request and finished the race ahead of Perez even though he had already sealed his world championship.
Former F1 driver Michael Bleekemolen reckons there is a lot more to their fued than has been made public.
While the duo seemed to be on good terms till that point, the incident during the Brazilian Grand Prix ensured that tempers got flared.
Perez was furious in the aftermath, saying that it “shows how Verstappen really is”.
Verstappen, meanwhile, had sharply responded to Red Bull following the request, “I told you already last summer, you guys don’t ask that again to me. Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.”
Afterwards, Perez told reporters, “I don’t understand what his reaction was. If he has two championships, it is thanks to me.”
Bleekemolen believes there is a lot more “hatred” between the duo than the public is aware of.
“There is always so much hatred and envy that is hidden between the drivers,” he said.
“Of course something has passed that we all don’t know very well, I think. That’s been kept under wraps a bit. Look, if Perez had said half a sentence that he crashed on purpose in Monaco qualifying, I think the FIA would have given him a penalty.
“Then we kind of get another case like crashgate. You forget things, but I think it always sticks a bit.”
This will surely be music to the ears of Daniel Ricciardo, who has joined the team as its third driver and will jump at the opportunity to feature for them in case Perez is done away with.
In other news, Ferrari is set to commence its F1 journey without the services of team principal Mattia Binotto following a series of questionable strategic decisions that saw both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz lose out on critical championship points.
Binotto will leave the team at the end of the year. Ferrari is likely to appoint Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur as his replacement.
Bleekemolen believes Ferrari took far too long to sack Binotto and that the decision should have been made at the start of the 2022 season.
“They should have gotten rid of Binotto a year earlier.
“Apparently that man doesn’t have the management skills needed at a top team like Ferrari, he doesn’t have the operational things in hand.
“Of course it is always nice to have someone who has experience in the sport. However, you could also get someone who doesn’t have that and therefore let a breath of fresh air.
“You often see that someone from a completely different industry joins a company, and then things can go quite well. It is a matter of deliberation.”