Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton
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Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s fiery Mercedes relationship is not similar to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez at Red Bull, warns Jolyon Palmer. The former driver has said there is ‘no animosity between the pair’ who have worked well together.
He warns Red Bull should have allowed the pair to race for the victory in Spain instead of issuing instructions for Perez to let Verstappen through for the race lead. The relationship is a stark contrast to when Hamilton and Rosberg were fierce rivals as both aimed to win the world championship with Mercedes.
Tensions exploded in 2016 with the pair colliding at the Spanish Grand Prix before Hamilton tried to purposefully hold up Rosberg in a bid to win the title at the last race in Abu Dhabi. However, Palmer warns Verstappen and Perez are not embroiled in a ‘bitter rivalry’ in the same way as the Mercedes pair.
Palmer said: “Teams have to trust their drivers to race fairly, particularly when they are as harmonious as Perez and Verstappen are at the moment. There’s no animosity between the pair. This isn’t a Hamilton/Rosberg, Vettel/Webber or Hamilton/Alonso scenario here when there are major points to prove in an extremely bitter rivalry.
“There, the stakes were obviously much higher. The Red Bull duo are some of the best in the business and I’m sure that they could have had a dice on track without risking a collision, as so many others did on Sunday, and team mates from other teams do all the time.”
The Mexican held up Hamilton for Verstappen in the last race of the 2021 season and has generally been happy to help the title fight where he can. However, he was confused after last week’s race when he was asked to not hold up Verstappen.
Perez said the decision was ‘very unfair’ and demanded talks between himself and the team after the race. Verstappen was on a different strategy but after just a handful of races, Perez may have felt he could have raced for the win.
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This was debunked by team principal Christian Horner, who claimed it would not have been a fair fight between the pair due to the massive pace difference.
He said: “With oil temperatures, water temperatures [running high] and a DRS that was intermittently working it didn’t make any sense for the team to let them fight because it was an unfair fight anyway. As it turned out, we had to pit Checo [Perez] anyway for the end of the race.
“So both drivers worked together as a team and to get the maximum points today was hugely important when Ferrari had an issue.”
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