Verstappen uses Hamilton/Bottas to send message to ‘second drivers’

© Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

Max Verstappen says he is “not going to name names”, but some drivers “have to accept that the driver next to you is just a bit better”, and when they don’t “then they don’t survive for very long”.

At the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez had an uncomfortable situation, when the Dutchman openly balked at team orders to let his team-mate overtake him, to help him in his fight for second place in the championship.

This led to harsh words from both sides after the race, even some personal digs aimed at Perez, which came from Verstappen’s mother Sophie Kumpen.

Afterwards Red Bull stated that the problems have been discussed internally and that the two drivers have buried the hatchet.

However, in a new interview with ViaPlay, Verstappen sent a message to ‘second drivers’, and it’s hard not to think that this was aimed at Perez.

The Dutch driver was talking team dynamics, and used Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ five-year partnership at Mercedes as an example.

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“Every year he starts fresh, but after a few races you realise it’s not going to happen again and you accept your role,” Verstappen said.

“[Bottas] still finished on podiums, he won a few races and took pole positions. You just have to accept that the driver next to you is just a bit better.

“That’s fine, that can happen. It’s important that he accepted it. Some drivers can’t do that and then it goes completely wrong.

“Then they don’t survive for very long. I’m not going to name names, but you have to accept your role.

“You can’t live in a fairytale world,” Max concluded.

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