Max Verstappen had no regrets for his failed overtaking on Lewis Hamilton during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, while explaining that he had “reasons” not to make room for his teammate Sergio Perez at the end of the race.
Verstappen attacked Hamilton for P2 after an early safety car restart but the pair came to blows in the middle of the Senna Esses, sending both drivers off the track and forcing the Dutchman to make repairs.
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As Verstappen asked over the radio where he was supposed to place his car, the stewards deemed the Red Bull man to be at fault and handed him a five-second penalty, adding to some recovery work already hard.
Asked by Sky Sports F1 about his view on the post-race clash, Verstappen questioned Hamilton’s approach, saying: “To be honest, I’ve been around the outside and I I immediately felt that he was not going to leave space. I just went there, he didn’t give me space, so I knew we were going to meet again.
Sao Paulo Grand Prix 2022: Hamilton and Verstappen make contact after safety car restart at Interlagos
“It cost him the win, for me it gave me five seconds. It wouldn’t have mattered for my race, because we were just too slow. But it’s just a shame, I thought that we could very well run together, but clearly the intention was not there to run.
Verstappen had dropped from 17th to 7th as the race entered its final stages, when Red Bull informed him that he could pass Perez, who was struggling on medium tyres, in an attempt to attack the cars in front of him.
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However, that was on the condition that if he failed to catch up, Verstappen would hand the place back to Perez, who is in a close fight for P2 in the drivers standings with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc – something the reigning two-time world champion refused to do so, before explaining his reasons in his post-race interviews.
“That’s why I first went to talk to the team before coming here. We put everything on the table why, and I gave my reasons. I won’t say why, but I think they understood. I’ve explained it to them before, so it wasn’t new to me, nor new to them,” Verstappen said.
“I think it’s more important as a team now that we’ve finally sat down together, together, and really put everything on the table, and we’re moving forward. We are going to Abu Dhabi, of course we want to win the race, but also if there is a chance to help Checo I will, but that is why it was important that we have this meeting now.
Verstappen added he could understand his team-mate’s frustration but reiterated he had his reasons and, when pushed if it had anything to do with the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, where Perez signaled an early end to Q3 with a crash, he said: “You can decide that; I’m not going to say it.
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For his part, the Mexican pledged to “continue to work as a team” after discussing the situation internally, as he must have regretted his late-race crash on harder tyres, with his rivals revising him on soft tires.
“It was really disappointing. It went from bad to worse after the safety car. We were on the wrong tire and we were just a passenger. I couldn’t get a temperature in the tire, and I could just see them passing, so I was really, really disappointed. Now let’s move on to Abu Dhabi, [which I’m] looking forward [to] massively,” he says.
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