F1 Rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton Share Radically Different Opinions of Sergio Perez

Formula 1 drivers’ champion Max Verstappen credited the “minister of defense” Sergio Perez with a legendary assist. 

Series runner-up Lewis Hamilton accused Perez of careless driving tactics. 

There’s a shocking development: Verstappen and Hamilton are at odds with each other.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s last-lap F1 drama was set up by a late accident 

Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Perez holds back Lewis Hamilton during the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on Dec. 12, 2021, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates | Clive Rose/Getty Images

It’s been nearly six weeks since Verstappen’s epic last-lap pass of Hamilton in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Since then, the two have spoken about the under-reported role Perez played in the outcome.

Surprise, they do not agree.

While most of F1’s attention remain on Mercedes’ hostile treatment of FIA Race Director Michael Masi for his decision to end a caution period and resume racing for the final lap. On fresh tires, Verstappen passed Hamilton along the fifth turn, clinching his first world championship.

The two F1 leaders entered the season finale tied in the drivers’ standings. Verstappen, who improved his qualifying runs last season, started on the pole but lost his advantage to Hamilton off the first turn.

Hamilton controlled the pace throughout most the race until Nicholas Latifi and Mick Schumacher crashed late while racing for 15th place, bringing out the Safety Car that set up the controversial conclusion at Yas Marina.

Verstappen on his Red Bull Racing teammate: ‘Checo is a legend’  

Before the third stage drama developed, Hamilton started pulling away from Verstappen and the field.
Red Bull called for “Plan ,” as reported by Metro

As Hamilton pulled up from behind, Perez, also known as “Checo,” drove up and down the track, holding up the hard-charging Hamilton, who appeared in a positon to claim a record eighth drivers’ title.

Perez and Hamilton passed each other in a series of white-knuckle maneuvers.

On Mercedes’ team radio, Hamilton sounded disturbed: “That’s some dangerous driving!”

That’s debatable, but “Plan B” worked.

Verstappen made up five seconds over one circuit.

Mission accomplished, Perez allowed Hamilton a free pass.

On Red Bull’s team radio, Verstappen shouted: “Checo is a legend.”

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner responded: “Absolute animal.”

Newcomer George Russell will be unknown variable to Mercedes-Red Bull Racing rivalry 

Assuming Hamilton soon breaks his offseason social-media silence and officially declares a rematch against Verstappen, there will come a time, possibly in the season-opening Bahrain GP, where Mercedes’ George Russell will be called upon to be Hamilton’s new wingman and hold off the defending champ. 

How will he respond as a newcomer to the emerging Mercedes-Red Bull rivalry? 

Will he execute his brand of “dangerous driving?” 

Will Hamilton acknowledge him as a “legend?”

Right now, neither Verstappen nor Hamilton knows. That’s one thing in which they can agree.

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