Red Bull’s Sergio Perez insists he has a good relationship with Jos Verstappen, despite the muted congratulations he got after winning in Saudi Arabia.
The relationship between Max Verstappen’s father Jos and Sergio Perez was brought under the microscope following the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as Perez claimed the victory after holding Verstappen at arms’ length during the second half of the race.
Running to his crew to celebrate the victory, a stony-faced Jos could be seen staring forward and seemingly not interested in joining in with the celebrations jostling up against him. Footage would later emerge of the elder Verstappen patting Perez on the shoulder in congratulations, with Perez acknowledging the gesture.
While Verstappen did congratulate Perez, the low-key nature of his well-wishes was in stark contrast to the exuberant joy Perez’s father Antonio Perez Garibay greeted Max and his son in the paddock at last season’s Mexico City Grand Prix.
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Perez addressed the suggestion that the Verstappen camp aren’t on best terms with his own, saying that he is comfortable with the level of friendship he has with his teammate’s entourage.
“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.
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“He wasn’t smiling much but you don’t have to smile every day and all the time.
“I drive cars, I work hard with my team but I have a life out of the sport and, once I am out of this paddock, I am totally out of this environment. It is important to be able to disconnect because it is a waste of time if you keep tracking all the rumours.”
Sergio Perez clears up fastest lap issue from Saudi Arabia
Some additional tension between Verstappen and Perez happened in the aftermath of the race in Jeddah when, after being told to maintain pace while holding the fastest lap point, Perez lost out to Verstappen on the final lap as the Dutch driver enquired about the fastest lap.
It led Perez to call for a review of internal communications, believing that he and Verstappen had been given different messages, which resulted in Verstappen claiming the point that puts him ahead of Perez in the Drivers’ Championship.
“I think it was a bit of a miscommunication between my engineer and myself,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com, on Thursday in Australia.
“I don’t think there was anything more to it. I think the team did a good job letting us race.
“I just feel like the communication I had was probably misunderstood, together with my engineer. I probably regret not having a go at the fastest lap, because I thought that was the case. But, at the same time, they told me something, and they told something different to Max – so it was just down to us to out there and do it.”
Confirming he had never tried to put in a faster laptime in the closing laps, Perez said he’d had a conversation with team boss Christian Horner to address the issue.
“I spoke with my engineers, and it was all cleared – I had a word with Christian [Horner] after the race, and it was all clear,” he said.
“It’s nothing big, obviously. You guys [journalists] like to create some stories when we’re not racing, but I think it’s all good!”