Max Verstappen and his camp are reportedly unhappy with Nico Rosberg’s comments made in the aftermath of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The 2016 World Champion was part of Sky Sports F1’s coverage at the Jeddah Corniche circuit and, during their post-race coverage, he suggested Verstappen had skipped a team meeting following a shock Q2 exit when a problem with his RB19’s driveshaft ensured he would not take part in the battle for pole.
These comments came immediately after footage emerged from the post-race drivers’ conference where Verstappen stated his displeasure over the fact he had to battle with reliability issues over the course of the Saudi Arabian GP weekend.
“Of course, in general, the whole feeling in the team, everyone is happy, but personally, I’m not happy,” Verstappen said.
“Because I’m not here to be second, especially when you are working very hard also back at the factory to make sure that you arrive here and in a good state, and basically, you know, making sure that everything is spot on.
“And then yeah, you have to do a recovery race, which I like, I mean, I don’t mind doing it, but it’s when you’re fighting for a championship and especially, you know, when it looks like it’s just between two cars, we have to make sure that also the two cars are reliable.”
Rosberg would then say during Sky F1’s live coverage: “It’s not good to see that really.
“Yesterday [Saturday] he left the track very quickly and skipped the team meeting apparently, that’s what we’ve been told, and I think that’s not a good approach, not a good mentality this early in the season.
“And when the team has done such a brilliant job with that car, and is working so hard and everything, he could be a little bit more gracious maybe, I would say.”
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However, there is a strong suggestion that Rosberg had put 2 + 2 together and got 5, because Verstappen had been suffering with a stomach bug in the lead up to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend and was even granted permission by the FIA to skip media day on Thursday to allow him extra recovery time.
It is believed Red Bull also played their part in making sure Verstappen was race ready for Sunday by allowing him to leave the track early following his Q2 exit.
According to German outlet Sport1, there is ‘anger’ towards Rosberg for bringing the initial rumour to the attention of the wider F1 audience.
Sport1 say the word from the Verstappen camp is: “This shows how far away Rosberg is from reality. Luckily, Sky also has Ralf Schumacher in the team, who set the record straight straightaway.”
Also in the aftermath of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, live broadcast coverage seemed to reveal Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, completely blank Sergio Perez after he won his first race of the season.
However, away from the live world feed, there was unbroadcasted footage which did show Jos Verstappen patting Perez on the back, congratulating him on his victory.
Just one point separates defending World Champion Verstappen and team-mate Perez heading into round three in Australia.