“This Just Isn’t Normal” – Max Verstappen Credits Teammate Sergio Perez for His Sublime Defense in Abu Dhabi

Published 01/10/2022, 7:00 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Mexico City Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 7, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates with third placed Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Francisco Guasco


The events of the last laps in Abu Dhabi were so dramatic in their very nature that people couldn’t help but put all their focus on that. But there’s one element of the bigger picture that people didn’t talk about enough and didn’t give enough credit and attention to. And without that element, Max Verstappen wouldn’t even have been in the position he was in towards the end.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The element in question here is the other Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez, and his defense against Lewis Hamilton in the Lap 20 to Lap 22 of the race. This defense directly resulted in Verstappen closing the gap by a mammoth six seconds.

And in a recent interview, the 2021 champion reacted to his teammate’s sublime drive. “Yeah brilliant. This just isn’t normal, how he was defending there,” Verstappen said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

He added, “I thought it was unbelievable how, for one lap, or for longer than one lap, he could hold on.” ‘Super Max’ even reacted to Hamilton’s radio message of ‘dangerous driving’ on Perez as he chuckled and said, “That’s racing hard.”

So impressed and honest was Verstappen on Perez’s defense that he even said, “because of him I’ve also won the championship.” 

Max Verstappen has a new name for Perez

In a season-end video posted by Red Bull, Max Verstappen sat down for a chat with team boss Christian Horner. And looking back on Perez’s drive in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen said, “He’s the minister of defense now.”

Horner added, “He’s been a great teammate this year, I think.” He added, “The ambience between you guys has been fantastic – he says you owe him a beer for Abu Dhabi…”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“Oh, I’ll pay a lot of beers,” Verstappen replied.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 23, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez celebrate after Verstappen qualified for pole position. REUTERS/Mike Blake

It should be acknowledged that Sergio Perez not only showed his class in 2021 but also shut down many of his doubters. Historically, it’s very rare that a new driver at Red Bull shines, and shines in the way Perez did while maintaining the chemistry with his teammate.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

And for that, Checo deserves credit.

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Shaharyar

478 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT