F1’s Max Verstappen refuses to let fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez through during Brazil GP

Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen rounds a turn. While talented, he has been a subject of controversy.

Photo used with permission from Google Creative Commons

Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen rounds a turn. While talented, he has been a subject of controversy.

One of Formula One’s front running teams, Red Bull Racing, experienced turmoil between their two drivers amid the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in November. Rumors swirled, including the question of is Max Verstappen holding a grudge, and if Sergio Perez really cheated on his wife after a race.

Two-time world champion Verstappen was driving in sixth place on the final lap of the race and refused to let teammate and 2022 Singapore GP winner Sergio “Checo” Perez pass him and potentially secure a historic 1-2 in the championship the following weekend.

In the Monte Carlo GP 2022 last June, Perez, who was driving in first, crashed into the wall in Q3 of race qualifying and thus a red flag was issued ending the race. Monaco is notorious for being challenging for overtaking other drivers. 1996 was the last time a driver won who started outside of the first three places. So, by crashing, he was able to start first, and have an almost guarantee for a positive outcome Sunday.

Since Perez had first place, this meant that Verstappen didn’t. At this time Verstappen was competing with Monacan Ferrari driver, Charles Leclerc for 2022 World Champion. Perez ended up winning the race and Red Bull issued him an extended contract until 2024 the following week. Fans speculate that this seemingly coincidental crash wasn’t an accident.

Fast forward, a few months later, Verstappen wins his second world championship after the Japanese Grand Prix, four races ahead of the end of the season. A few weeks following this, Perez and Leclerc were tied ahead of Brazil for second place. On the final lap of Sao Paulo GP, Perez asked the team if he could pass Verstappen, hoping to obtain two more points and beat Leclerc in the championship. The team politely asked Verstappen to let Perez through. “I told you already last summer, guys, don’t ask that again to me. Okay? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons, and I stand by it,” Verstappen said.

Perez was less than thrilled with his teammate’s reaction. “It shows who he really is,” Perez said.

Later that night, Verstappen’s mother Sophie Kumpen took to an Instagram post about Perez. “And then in the evening cheating on his wife,” she said.

The comment was later deleted and was in reference to a post-race party with multiple women, which Perez attended. Labeling it a “bad party,” former Racing Point driver Perez later apologized.

In the final race this season in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen claimed a record breaking 15th win while Perez had 305 points total this season. Leclerc ended with 308. At the end of the day, those two points that Versteppen refused to give would have only gotten Perez to 307 points. Leclerc would still have claimed second in the championship.

There was speculation that the Belgian- Dutch driver ignored Red Bull’s request to let the Spaniard through due to the Monaco qualifying crash. When asked about the connection between these two events, “You can decide that; I’m not going to say it,”