Max Verstappen hits out at ‘not okay’ Sergio Perez Austria sprint incident

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen chats with Sergio Perez in Jeddah. March 2023

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen chats with Sergio Perez.

Max Verstappen wanted and got a “chat” with his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez after feeling he was squeezed onto the grass at the Austrian GP sprint start.

It was a Red Bull front-row lockout for the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race, Verstappen heading the pack with Perez alongside him, but it was Perez who snatched the lead into the opening corner.

From there things got a little too close for comfort between the two drivers, Verstappen venturing onto the grass as he was seemingly squeezed by his team-mate, before ultimately moving back into the lead down at Turn 3, Perez compromised and also losing a position to Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg.

Max Verstappen wanted answers on that drama

Verstappen went on to dominate the sprint race in Austria, but on his mind afterwards was that incident with Perez.

“Yeah good race, the exit of Turn 1, that was not really nice, that could have been a really big shunt,” he said over team radio.

“We need to have a chat about that, that’s not okay.”

Verstappen and Perez were then seen debating the incident shortly after climbing out of their respective RB19s, a chat which seemed to reach a calm resolution, and from there they went to discuss what went down with the media.

Perez explained that he did not see Verstappen alongside him after a poor exit out of Turn 1, so opened the door again once he knew his team-mate was there.

“I think Max was angry that I went into Turn 2, but I didn’t see him there. I had a really bad Turn 1, so I tried to protect,” Perez stated.

“Once I realised he was there, I opened up the door and gave the place back into Turn 2.” recommends

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“All fine” from Sergio Perez’s side

And after the pair aired their grievances following the race, Perez said the situation was resolved.

“It’s all fine,” Perez affirmed. “We just talked about it.”

Verstappen would describe the incident as a “hairy moment”, though it was one which he thankfully emerged from without damage to go on and win by a margin of 21 seconds at the end of a 24-lap sprint.

“A little bit of a hairy moment out of Turn 1 and of course when you get forced onto the grass it’s very slippery, but we managed to keep the car under control and from there onwards we just did our race again,” he reflected.

Verstappen has now added a further point to his Drivers’ Championship lead over Perez, now standing at 70, with the Dutchman set to start from pole again tomorrow for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Read next – Sprint: Max Verstappen heads Sergio Perez in frantic wet-dry Austrian Grand Prix dash