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Max Verstappen hits out at ‘sickening’ criticism and abuse

Max Verstappen hits out at 'sickening' criticism and abuse

Max Verstappen has hit out at the media for stories written about him after the Brazilian Grand Prix and branded the social media abuse he and his family received in the aftermath “disgusting.”

Verstappen, who won the 2022 title in October, did not obey a team order from Red Bull to let Sergio Perez pass on the final lap, which would have helped the Mexican driver’s bid for second in the championship.

Verstappen later explained that he refused because of an incident from earlier in the season, although no further details were given.

Red Bull put out a statement Thursday, shortly before Verstappen faced the press, outlining that its own mistakes had led to the team orders controversy and that it had not properly communicated with the Dutchman until the final lap.

The two-time world champion is upset at the criticism he received.

“After that race, I looked very bad in the media,” Verstappen said in a news conference ahead of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. “But they didn’t have the clear picture.

“To immediately put me down like that is ridiculous, to be honest, because they don’t know how I work within the team and what the team appreciates about me.”

Speaking of the discussions with Red Bull and Perez after the race, he said: “We had some good discussions, we put everything on the table and everything has been solved. In hindsight we should have had that conversation earlier because I’ve never been a bad teammate. I have always been very helpful. The team knows that — I always put the team up front because at the end of the day it is a team effort.”

The refusal to follow the team order was, according to Dutch media, down to Verstappen’s belief that Perez intentionally crashed during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix in May to ensure he started ahead.

Dutch press has reported that Perez admitted doing so a few weeks later. In his own press conference Thursday, Perez categorically denied both claims.

Perez and Red Bull have both said Monaco did not come up in the meeting which followed the Brazil race.

On Thursday Verstappen was given multiple opportunities to explain the incident he was referring to, but he declined to do so.

“We keep it between the team and myself,” Verstappen said. “[The media] don’t know the real story, so you don’t need to write the story.

“I’m just a bit fed up with all this bulls— just going around all the time. As soon as there’s something negative, it needs to be highlighted. It’s pretty sickening to be honest, being part of…

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