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Could Verstappen have helped Perez? 'Slowing down like Hamilton did in 2016'

Could Verstappen have helped Perez? 'Slowing down like Hamilton did in 2016'

22-11-2022 06:57 Last update: 08:46


Max Verstappen did not help Sergio Perez secure second place in the championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, yet there are several scenarios in which the Dutchman could have meant something to his teammate. That is the theory of Formula E driver Sam Bird.

Verstappen was ready to help his teammate in Abu Dhabi after refusing to let Perez past for sixth position in Brazil. The Mexican driver left for the final race of the season with the same number of points as P2 rival Charles Leclerc. Regardless, Perez needed to finish ahead of the Ferrari driver to secure second place.

However, Verstappen drove a dominant race and was in the lead with a big gap, so there was not much he could do for Perez. The Red Bull driver chased Leclerc in the closing stages of the race, but it was not enough to overtake him. In the end, the Monegasque won P2 in the championship with 308 points, while Perez finished in third place with 305 points.

In the Chequered Flag podcast BBC's Bird makes a suggestion where Verstappen could have had an impact on Leclerc and Perez's race. Those who remember 2016 will surely remember how Lewis Hamilton tried to take the world title away from teammate Nico Rosberg in Abu Dhabi.

In the podcast the question is asked whether Verstappen could have helped his teammate. "I think so. I absolutely think so." The Briton takes Abu Dhabi 2016 as an example. "Hamilton led that race and Rosberg was sitting behind in second place. Towards the end of the race, a fast-charging Sebastian Vettel was coming at Rosberg, and Hamilton was driving so slowly unnecessarily that Rosberg was at real danger of losing the world title to Hamilton. If Vettel had overtaken him, Hamilton would have been the World Champion," the Formula E driver says.

Verstappen could have followed Hamilton's example

"Max could have done something similar. Max had the capacity and speed to re-overtake the Ferrari if he were to squabble with the Ferrari, that’s my opinion", Bird says.

While the scenario would certainly have been possible, Bird stresses that it would probably have been risky. Verstappen also had to think of himself and take home his 15th win of the season. "It sounds a little bit like we are beating down on Verstappen, which we are not. The question was ‘could he have helped?’. The answer is yes. It would have really been probably asking a lot. It was a risky one.”

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