Max Verstappen reacts to supposed Sergio Perez ‘snub’ from father Jos

Thomas Maher
Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, neither happy. Bahrain March 2023

Red Bull team-mates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, neither happy. Bahrain March 2023

Max Verstappen has said it’s “completely normal” that his father Jos didn’t enthusiastically join in with Sergio Perez’s victory celebrations in Saudi Arabia.

Perez led home a Red Bull 1-2 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last month, with Verstappen having to settle for second after starting from 15th following a driveshaft failure in qualifying.

While Verstappen made good progress through the field and seemed to have a golden opportunity to take the win after a mid-race Safety Car bunched up the pack, the Dutch driver wasn’t able to make any impression on Perez’s five-second lead – Red Bull also choosing to take a neutral approach by letting their drivers work for the win.

After Perez crossed the line to take victory, the Mexican driver climbed out and ran over to his mechanics to celebrate – TV pictures showed a stoic Jos Verstappen staring resolutely ahead as he appeared to do his best to ignore the celebrations happening centimetres away.

Sergio Perez cools the tensions: You don’t have to smile all the time

While footage would later emerge of Jos Verstappen congratulating Perez, the former F1 racer also had a dig at Perez’s achievement by saying, “I don’t think he gets the chance that often. He sees that too and then goes for it.”

Perez himself downplayed the snub-that-wasn’t-a-snub by saying he had no expectations of Verstappen to be smiling for his victory.

“I have a good relationship with Jos. We respect each other,” Perez told the Press Association. “We know this is sport, and that is how we treat it.

“We shook hands but they probably didn’t show that. I saw a few things were written on social media, but sometimes people like to create stories that don’t exist.

“He wasn’t smiling much but you don’t have to smile every day and all the time.”

Max Verstappen: It’s OK if some people don’t see it as normal

Max Verstappen, who won the Australian Grand Prix last time out, addressed the supposed iciness between his father and teammate when he spoke to Dutch media in Melbourne.

“Obviously, my father is my biggest fan,” Verstappen is quoted by the Spanish subsidiary of Motorsport.com.

“I don’t like to lose and neither does my father. That’s how we grew up, but they always show the wrong pictures of course.

“Look: ‘Checo’ [Perez] gets out of the car and wants to celebrate with his mechanics, which is quite normal. But another father does not belong to that party, of course. Therefore my father did not get in there.

“I think something like that is completely normal, even if some people don’t see it that way. But that’s OK, so those people just don’t see it that way.”

Verstappen junior also insisted he wasn’t bothered by the fact his father had been singled out by fans on social media for the incident.

“At the end of the day, we have to focus on ourselves and not on what the Twitter community thinks,” he said.

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