Max Verstappen has hit out at the media ahead of the Abu Dhabi GP after he ignored a call from Red Bull to allow Sergio Perez pass him in the final laps in Brazil.
It wasn’t just the media the Dutchman was unhappy with, he explained that his family and friends have also dealt with disgruntled fans sending ‘unacceptable’ messages to his loved ones.
There was widespread anger among spectators following the Brazilian race when Verstappen refused to give up a position to Perez. His Mexican teammate is currently chasing second place in the drivers’ championship, and despite Red Bull’s instructions to move aside, the request fell on deaf ears.
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Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – the season closer – Verstappen said he and the team knew his reasons for refusing to give up the space, and he believed they were warranted.
He did not go into detail about why he refused to give up the position, and simply said: “We keep it between the team and myself.”
During the media day, Verstappen address the issue and said: “We went to Brazil and I just thought we were going to race, try to get the best possible result. We had a bit of a miscommunication on Saturday and Sunday, nothing had been said to me about a potential swap.
“It was only coming into that last lap that it was said on the radio, and they should have known my response already from what I said the week before. After that race we had some good discussion, we put everything on the table and everything has been solved.
“In hindsight, we should have had that conversation earlier because I have never been a bad team-mate to anyone.
“I’ve always been very helpful and the team knows that. I always put the team upfront because at the end of the day, it is a team effort. What we learned is that we need to be more open, and we just have to communicate with each other.”
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The Red Bull driver then added: “After that race, I looked very bad in the media but they also didn’t have the clear picture… but to immediately put me down is pretty ridiculous to be honest. Because they don’t know how I work within the team and what the team appreciates about me, so all the things I have read are pretty disgusting.
“And also even more than that they started attacking my family, threatening my sister, my mum, my girlfriend, my dad and for me that goes way too far while you don’t have the facts of what’s going on. For me, that has to stop.
“If you have a problem with me that’s fine but don’t go after my family because that is just unacceptable,” Verstappen insisted.
“We move on. Honestly, I have a great relationship with Checo. But I just don’t understand when people don’t have the full picture, to immediately start attacking me like that.
“I hope one day they actually understand what was going on because it’s just unacceptable behaviour of so many people. also people in this paddock, not only fans, a lot of people what they have been writing about me is just ridiculous.”
He was then asked why he doesn’t want to set the record straight, to which Verstappen responded: “We keep it between the team and myself.
“I’m just a bit fed up with all this bull**** just going around all the time. At the end of the day, I haven’t done anything wrong, people just misunderstood what was going on.”