Sergio Perez has been branded “weak” for demanding Red Bull intervene to help him beat Charles Leclerc. Ernest Knoors, a former Ferrari engineer, claimed it was a “weakness” to enlist the help of Max Verstappen to secure a result.
Instead, Knoors claims Perez should have been “fast enough” to beat Leclerc himself to secure the runners-up spot in the championship. Reigning champion Verstappen claimed he would help Perez in Abu Dhabi but dominated the race to secure his 15th win as Perez struggled in P3.
On lap 29, the Mexican claimed he was being “held up” by Verstappen. However, Knoors claims the message was Perez hinting at the team to get involved in the battle to help him beat Leclerc.
Knoors told Motorsport.com: “To be fair, he was of course not held up, because he was always at least two seconds behind, but I think it was Sergio’s way of seeing if he can get something done with his team that helps him with the strategy.
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After the checkered flag, Verstappen claimed he had reasons not to let Perez through with rumors suggesting it was because of an incident at the Monaco Grand Prix back in May. Perez slammed Verstappen over team radio, moaning that his teammate’s refusal to follow orders “shows who he really is”.
Perez later added: “I’m really surprised. I’ve nothing to say, really, I mean, after all I’ve done for him it’s a bit disappointing to be honest. I was told to let him by that I was going to get back the position. I don’t know what was the communication with him on his side.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admitted that the team had held discussions with their drivers after the controversy.