Red Bull says it has accepted Max Verstappen’s explanation for his refusal to obey an order to let his team mate overtake him at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The team also spoke out against the abuse its team members have received following the events of Sunday’s race, revealing some had received death threats.
With six laps to go in Sunday’s race, Perez was given the instruction “don’t fight Max”. He allowed his team mate to overtake him, and was told “if on the last lap you’re together, we’ll swap back.”
Verstappen was not told of any arrangement to change the positions back at this point. His race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase said: “Okay Max go and take some points off Alonso and Leclerc please.”
On the final lap of the race, after Verstappen had been unable to pass any of the cars ahead of him, he was told to let Perez by again. He was given the first message as they approached the Ferradura corner – the sixth turn of the 15 corner circuit.
Verstappen refused, telling the team: “I told you already last time you guys, don’t ask that again to me. Okay? Are we clear about that?”
Red Bull pointed out Verstappen had not been informed of the arrangement to let Perez back ahead until the final lap, acknowledging “as a team we made some mistakes in Brazil.”
“We had not envisaged the situation that unfolded on the last lap and we had not agreed a strategy for such a scenario before the race,” it said in a statement. “Regretfully, Max was only informed at the final corner of the request to give up position without all the necessary information being relayed.
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“This put Max, who has always been an open and fair team player, in a compromising situation with little time to react which was not our intention. Following the race Max spoke openly and honestly, allowing for both drivers to resolve any outstanding issues or concerns.
“The team accept Max’s reasoning, the conversation was a personal matter which will remain private between the team and no further comment will be made.”
Red Bull also condemned abuse which had been targeted at its drivers and others in reaction to the incident.
“The events that followed from a social media point of view are completely unacceptable,” they said. “The abusive online behaviour towards Max, Checo, the team and their respective families is shocking and saddening and unfortunately is something that we as a sport are having to…