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Lammers: 'Perez wasn't deliberately holding up Hamilton then either'

Lammers: 'Perez wasn't deliberately holding up Hamilton then either'

25-11-2022 19:06 Last update: 22:33


Max Verstappen did not help teammate Sergio Perez in Abu Dhabi by dropping back and impeding Charles Leclerc. According to former F1 driver and sporting director of the Dutch GP Jan Lammers, that was only understandable. According to the Dutchman, it could be a blemish on the world champion's season.

Perez is not the defence minister

In 2021, Perez did an excellent job of holding up Lewis Hamilton, who was in danger of Verstappen in Abu Dhabi for that year's championship, for as long as possible. It took the Briton several laps to get past the Mexican's Red Bull Racing car, allowing Verstappen to regain the connection to the Mercedes. Verstappen called his teammate a 'legend' and the media ran away with Perez, calling him the minister of defence.

The fact that Verstappen did not do the same for Perez in 2022 Abu Dhabi and did not let himself drop back to hold up Leclerc, allowing Perez to pass the Ferrari driver for P2 in the championship, caused questions among the press. According to Lammers, it is understandable that Verstappen would never do that, even if asked by his team. In the NOS Formula 1 podcast the Dutchman says: "We, the media, put that stamp of minister of defence on Perez, but of course he was not holding up Hamilton. [From Hamilton's point of view] to pass a car at similar speed was just not easy."

Situation for Red Bull in 2021 and 2022 not comparable

Lammers explained that what Perez did in 2021 need not be seen as an explicit act of help for Verstappen, but was pure racing. "What Perez did last year, he would also have done if Verstappen had not entered the race. We make a big deal out of it. It is completely normal. I would have found it bizarre if Max could have taken his fifteenth win here for his record and then had to drop to third place."

The situations of 2021 and last year were not comparable. Precisely because the fight between Leclerc and Verstappen, especially at the beginning of the year was hard but neatly fought, it would be a nasty end. Lammers: "This is exactly the kind of blemish you don't want to have on the season."