“Verstappen Comes First”: Former F1 Driver Sides With Red Bull Over Controversial Sergio Perez Incident in Barcelona

Published 05/23/2022, 11:18 AM EDT

via Reuters

Max Verstappen is continuing to grab the headlines. The Dutchman’s stunning victory in Spain proved to be a crucial one, as he is currently on top of the driver’s standings. Things, however, were slipping away from him after the race in Australia a month back.

The reigning champion suffered two retirements in the first three races but bounced back with three wins on a trot. That’s what champions do, and that is exactly why former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve values him highly. The Canadian knows a thing or two about being crowned a world champion and he revealed Verstappen’s high standards make his team perform better.


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Of course, one individual’s effort cannot win a championship. And some believe that the Red Bull driver is selfish and sometimes goes over the limit. However, on the contrary, Villeneuve believes the 24-year-old is a team player.

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Apart from talking about the Dutch driver, the 1997 World Champion also gave his thoughts on Red Bull’s strategy to let Max take the lead ahead of Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Jacques Villeneuve reveals Max Verstappen puts his team first

Yesterday’s race was not an easy one for Red Bull and Verstappen. The former Toro Rosso man had issues with DRS and as a result, his frustrations on the radio were clear. Villeneuve feels his anger on the radio was because of the intense battle in the race.

via Reuters

In his column, he wrote, “Max Verstappen always speaks in the we form when it comes to problems with the Red Bull, unlike others who point to the team and say ‘you’.”

“His angry rant was something that happens in the heat of battle – it sounded worse than it was. Everyone knows that he is performing at his maximum, and demands the same from the team.”

Things certainly ended well for Verstappen in Barcelona. Leclerc’s retirement means Max has come back from nowhere to take the lead in the championship. As the season progresses, he will look to cement that spot.

Villeneuve reflects on Red Bull’s strategy at the Spanish GP

While Verstappen was struggling with DRS issues, his teammate Sergio Perez was cruising and had an excellent start. At one stage, the Mexican passed Russell and took the lead. However, once the Dutch driver’s issues were solved, he comfortably beat the Mercedes driver and had Perez in his sights.

Instead of allowing them to fight, Red Bull ordered Perez to give up his place. Despite having obeyed the team’s orders, the 32-year-old was clearly unhappy after the race. Villeneuve, however, believes that Verstappen was fastest, and the Bulls were right in doing the swap.


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“He (Perez) was very disappointed yesterday, but Red Bull’s tactics were right. It feels weird to move aside when you’re in the lead. But he had older tyres and Max was faster – he’d already caught up with Sergio.”

“So there’s no point letting them fight lap after lap and damage the tyres. Of course Verstappen comes first, he is above him in the championship, he is the number 1 and the world champion. Simple,” stated the Canadian.


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The Sunday GP even reminded some fans of Ferrari’s infamous order to let Michael Schumacher ahead of his teammate, Rubens Barrichello, in the 2002 Austrian GP.

We will leave it up to you to decide whether Red Bull’s decision to let Verstappen ahead was right or not.



Rahul Madhavan

436 articles

Rahul Madhavan is a Formula 1 writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Bachelor's degree in business administration, he is pursuing his love for sports in the form of writing. Rahul is an avid McLaren fan, who also enjoys writing about soccer.

Edited By: Ranvijay Singh