Red Bull driver Max Verstappen chose to ignore team orders to let Sergio Perez pass during last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
This brought many fans to literally shred Verstappen’s image to pieces and Perez himself said that “it shows who he really is”.
Perez needed the points desperately as he chases Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for second spot in the drivers’ standings.
With Verstappen already having claimed his second successive title with some races to go, the points were of little significance to the Dutchman.
Rather, it was more about proving a point both to his teammate and team.
Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher does not think the problem is behind the two drivers, despite claims from Verstappen that he will do everything he can to help Perez in the season finale slated on Sunday.
Schumacher believes Verstappen will leverage his position at the team in a bid to get rid of Perez and push for former teammate Daniel Ricciardo to be offered a full-time role as early as next season.
Rumours already seem to indicate that Ricciardo will be installed as Red Bull’s reserve driver heading into the 2023 season and Verstappen believes he enjoys a far more positive relationship with the Australian.
He will therefore see this moment as a great opportunity to push for Ricciardo’s case with the team management.
Will Max benefit more with Ricciardo alongside him?
“I’m not 100 percent sure that Perez will still be his teammate next year,” he said.
“I think Ricciardo has a good chance. It must be behind the scenes very, very aggressive and I think Max wants a new combination.
“Max is the spearhead of Red Bull. The whole future is laid out for him until 2028. In the end, he pulls the coals out of the fire, brings the victories home.
“Accordingly, I could imagine that because of his contract, he has the opportunity to have a say in who drives next to him. And I think he prefers Ricciardo there.”
Ricciardo has himself struggled to inspire much confidence ever since his move to McLaren.
The former Red Bull and Renault driver has been bitterly disappointing, with teammate Lando Norris outshining him consistently.
This led McLaren to finally pull the plug on his deal.
Ricciardo has stated that he is not keen on taking on a driver role for a midfield team, but if an offer does come from Red Bull, it’s hard to see him turn it down.