Verstappen was ordered by his Red Bull team to hand Perez back to sixth on the final lap of the Sao Paolo race last week after he was unable to pass Alpine. Fernando Alonso for the fifth.
The position would have helped Perez in his battle with Ferrari Charles Leclerc for second place in the 2022 standings, with the Mexican fuming after the race that Verstappen’s insubordination “shows who he really is”.
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The Dutchman told his team it was not about asking him about team orders when asked to answer why he didn’t let Perez through, thinking his reasonings concerned the crash of his teammate during Monaco qualifying and embarrassing the world champion. own Q3.
Later in his first TV interviews, Perez made comments along the same lines as his immediate post-race radio outburst before he was told to return to Red Bull hospitality, where he spoke with Christian Horner, Helmut Marko and Verstappen.
When he returned to complete his media duties, he had changed his tune, insisting that what happened was an internal matter.
Asked in Abu Dhabi on Thursday about his previous comments, Perez admitted he said too much.
“Obviously F1 is a very emotional sport,” Perez said.
“And there’s no other sport where you can talk to each other live, and it’s only in F1 that that happens. So there’s a lot of emotion in a lot of things to talk about.
“I obviously regret a lot of things I said after the race because yes, I’m back with Max in the relationship we had, and we’re both in the team, and everyone is ready to move to move forward.”
Verstappen has since clarified that there was no discussion of team orders until the final lap of the race. Perez agreed that a lack of clarity within the camp complicated matters.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
“I mean everyone was put in a very difficult situation there, within Max within the team, myself,” he added.
“I think we could have handled the situation better. Obviously we will learn from it and do things differently in the future.
“And that’s how you should be, every team around the paddock is learning.”
He added: “Fortunately, it wasn’t until the last 100m of the lap that I found out he wasn’t going to give the position back to me. It was obviously a bad feeling.
“But I think I’m able to put all of that behind us. And yes, my priority is to have a good working environment and to be able to trust my team-mate, trust my team. And that’s my priority .”
Perez remains convinced that he can count on Verstappen to help him this weekend, should the situation arise.
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