Christian Horner protects Max Verstappen after private Red Bull talks

Christian Horner on Red Bull's success and hints at next step

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Christian Horner has admitted Red Bull made a “mistake” by not talking to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez about possible team orders ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Horner has also shared details about private talks held between the two drivers after the race where the issue was “quickly discussed”.

He revealed both drivers were “honest” with each other and Horner accepted the team was set to move on from the drama this weekend. Verstappen ignored the team’s demands when he was asked to move aside for Perez on the final lap in Sao Paulo.

Red Bull had made the demand to help Perez score points in his battle for P2 in the Drivers’ Championship with Charles Leclerc. Speaking in Saturday’s press conference ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Horner explained: “A lot has been said about Brazil, there were things we as a team could have done better. We didn’t envisage being in that position.

“We shouldn’t have taken it for granted and there is always lessons to learn in this sport and it’s a matter of how you apply them.

“The root cause of the problem, we never envisaged being in sixth and seventh places in the final lap of that Grand Prix. It was something we hadn’t envisaged and we hadn’t discussed it before the race.

“That was a mistake on our part. We should have thought through or tried to think through every single scenario so that was a mistake as a team that we didn’t discuss it and come up with a very clear plan.

“Obviously it was unfortunate what happened but it was [quickly] discussed, openly and transparently, and both drivers were very clear, open and honest. From that as a team we move on.” Verstappen hit back at race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase when he was asked why he didn’t let Perez through.


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The reigning champions admitted he had reasons for the snub with rumours suggesting it was down to an incentive at the Monaco Grands Prix earlier this season. The Dutchman also stressed the issue was a communication error and admitted he would have liked the team to have made the request ahead of the race.

He commented: “We went to Brazil and I just thought we’re just going to race, tried to get the best possible result and yeah, we had a bit of a miscommunication.

“On Saturday and Sunday nothing had been said to me about a potential swap or whatever. It only came into that last lap that it was said on the radio and I think they should have known my response already from what I said the week before and after that race.

“Yeah, we had some good discussion and we put everything on the table and everything has been solved. So in hindsight, we should have had that conversation earlier because I have never been a bad teammate to anyone.”

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