How Red Bull’s team radio row in Brazil unfolded · RaceFans

The Brazilian Grand Prix was disappointing enough for Red Bull to begin with – then their two drivers fell out over a team order dispute.

Sergio Perez was deeply unimpressed at his team mate’s refusal to let him by into sixth place at the end of the race. Perez is seeking to claim second place in the championship and secure the first one-two in the points standings for the team in its history.

His cause wasn’t helped when Max Verstappen ignored a series of calls to let Perez by over the final laps. Verstappen had waved past his teammate in an effort to overtake Fernando Alonso, but was unable to pass the Alpine before the end of the race.

Verstappen was no happier with the situation than his team mate, telling his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase he had previously explained why he was unwilling to make way for his team mate on the track. However, as the team’s radio messages showed, Perez had been given assurances that Verstappen would relinquish the position.

Transcript: Verstappen and Perez’s radio fall-out in Brazil

The situation would not have arisen had it not been for a late Safety Car triggered by Lando Norris’ retirement. Prior to that, on lap 51, Perez was sitting in fourth place, over 40 seconds ahead of ninth-placed Verstappen, who had been delayed by a collision with Lewis Hamilton earlier in the race.

Norris’ retirement initially triggered a Virtual Safety Car period. Perez gained a position from this, as second-placed Carlos Sainz Jnr took the opportunity to pit, and rejoined the track behind the Red Bull on fresh tires.

Lap: 52/71
Verstappen’s radio messages Perez’s radio messages
Lambiase Okay Max so Norris has stopped between turn 10 and 11. He’s still on-track. He’s on the right-hand side. He’s getting out of the car while you were passing him. Virtual Safety Car deployed. VSC deployed. Dash positive. Bird Yellow exit turn 10, yellows on the exit of turn 10. Norris has stopped on the right-hand side of the track.
Lap: 53/71
Lambiase So Alonso, think he’s going to come out ahead of you, free to push at this point, you need to follow it your delta. Yeah, Alonso ahead, dash positive. Alonso on new software. Bird Virtual Safety deployed. Recharge on. Cancel handbrake, cancel handbrake.
Verstappen So what position are we in? Bird Okay so Sainz will be pitting. Expect Sainz to come out just behind us.
Lambiase P10. Bird So stay on your delta. Sainz has pitted. You’re staying out.
Perez Copy. Who is behind?

The marshals encountered difficulty removing the stricken McLaren and race control decided a full Safety Car period was required. This closed up the field.

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Lap: 54/71
Lambiase Okay. Safety Car deployed, Max, Safety Car deployed. Bird Car behind is Alonso, 35 seconds back.
Bird Actually he has pitted so it’s Bottas the car behind, a long way back. So Sainz is going to emerge behind you, he’s just in turn two now. Sainz on the scrubbed soft.
Bird Strat 10, strat 10. Safety Car deployed. Safety Car. Safety Car’s at turn two.
Lap: 55/71
Lambiase So keep on your delta, Max. Bird So Safety Car’s on the run to four. Safety Car’s at turn six.
Lambiase Strat two please, Max. Bird Select mode three, mode three. And B-ball six. B-ball six.
Lambiase So keep on your delta. Once you pass the line then we’ll be able to push up to the Safety Car. Dash positive.

Perez now lay in third but was running on the unfavored medium tire compound and knew he was unlikely to have the pace to challenge the two Mercedes ahead. The soft-shod Ferraris behind were a concern: Not just Sainz, but Leclerc too, who like Verstappen had regained a huge amount of time thanks to the Safety Car and had only Valtteri Bottas between him and his team mate.

Behind Leclerc came Sebastian Vettel, the two Alpines and Verstappen.

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Lap: 56/71
Verstappen How many laps are there remaining? Perez Who has pitted behind?
Lambiase 16 after this one. Correction, including this one. Bird So you’ve got Sainz on a used soft behind then Bottas on 10-lap-old new softs, Leclerc on 10-lap-old used softs. And strat 11, strat 11. Sainz’s new softs aren’t that new.
Lap: 57/71
Verstappen How was my relative pace to, like, you know, the cars ahead of me. Catching? Bird 56 laps complete, 15 remaining.
Lambiase So Leclerc on his soft at the time had stabilized at around a 16.6, 16.7. So you were four-tenths quicker at the time. Bird Positive on the brakes when you can, positive on the brakes when you can.
Verstappen And like the cars in the middle of us?
Lambiase So Alonso was relatively quick on his medium. It was a 15.7, he’s now on a new software. Ocon didn’t quite have that same pace and then it’s Vettel ahead on a scrubbed medium.
Verstappen Why is the Safety Car not coming in? The car is already there for two laps.
Lambiase We are still yet to allow lapped cars past.

The restart of the race was delayed as race control attempted to wave the lapped cars through and onto the lead lap. However due to an oversight only the two Williams drivers were let through. Yuki Tsunoda, who was also a lap down, was left where he was, causing some confusion.

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Lap: 58/71
Lambiase Okay so the lapped cars are now being allowed to overtake. There is nobody behind you. Bird Okay lapped cars may now overtake. Got Tsunoda and Latifi to come past, just stay on the racing line.
Lambiase So Max it’ll be mode three, mode three for the restart. You can do that now. Then either mode nine or mode six so up to you on the second lap. Bird Latifi behind should come past and then Tsunoda.
Bird Tsunoda will not be coming past.
Lap: 59/71
Lambiase Okay. So the Safety Car is in this lap. So that’s 58 laps complete, it’ll be 59 once we get going, so 12 racing laps. Bird So Tsunoda is a lap down but will not be coming past you. So Safety Car in at the end of this lap. B-bal three, b-bal three, strat 10 and bias offset for the restart.
Lambiase Okay so just watch your bias offset, Max. Currently zero. Tires on the cool side. Safety Car still at turn 12. Perez Sainz overtook Tsunoda under the Safety Car.
Lambiase Safety Car approaching pit lane. Bird Yeah copy, Checo.
Bird Recharge off now, recharge off. Safety Car still leading the pack. Safety Car turn 12. 13. 14. Pit lane.

When the race finally restarted the chatter on the radio died down for several laps. While Verstappen passed the likes of Vettel and Esteban Ocon ahead, Perez was unable to repel the Ferraris and even Fernando Alonso, who had taken the opportunity to fit a set of soft tires during the Safety Car period.

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Lap: 60/71
Bird Mode six, mode six, battery is good.
Lap: 61/71
Lambiase Make the tires last, Max. Bird Battery is still good.
Lap: 62/71
Lambiase You have DRS. Mode five. Bird DRS enabled, gap 0.6.
Bird Perez is passed by Sainz
Gap 0.5.
Lap: 63/71
Lambiase Rear-right peak. Bird Mode seven, mode seven, Leclerc at 0.5.
Lap: 64/71
Lambiase So eight laps remaining. Bird Perez is passed by Leclerc
Eight laps to go.

After Alonso moved into fifth ahead of Perez, Red Bull decided to see if Verstappen was quick enough to chase down the Alpine.

Perez was told to let Verstappen pass on the understanding that if his team mate could not get past Alonso, he would be given the position back. This detail was not stated on Verstappen’s radio: He was told only to try to attack Alonso.

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Lap: 65/71
Lambiase Mode nine, mode nine. Bird Perez is passed by Alonso
Don’t fight Max.
Lap: 66/71
Lambiase Okay Max go and take some points off Alonso and Leclerc please. Bird So don’t fight Max. If on the last lap you’re together we’ll swap back.
Bird We’ll let Max go and hunt down Leclerc.

Verstappen closed on Alonso but was unable to pass him before the final lap.

Lap: 67/71
Lambiase Five laps to go. Bird Caution debris apex turn one. Four laps to go, including this one.
Lambiase Could be some debris at turn one, Max. Leclerc last lap 14.5.
Lap: 69/71
Lambiase Three more laps. Bird Three laps to go. Mode six, mode six.
Bird Okay think about B-bal five and reset bias offset for that snap at turn one. Two laps to go.
Lap: 70/71
Lambiase Mode four, mode four.

On the last lap, Verstappen was told that if he wasn’t able to pass Alonso by the final corner, he should let Perez pass again. He didn’t do so, and was told repeatedly as he headed towards the finishing line to back off.

Verstappen took the checkered flag four seconds ahead of Perez, who was bemused as to why he hadn’t been given his place back.

Lap: 71/71
Verstappen How many laps? Bird Last lap.
Lambiase This is the final lap, Max. Max, if we don’t pass Fernando on the exit of 12, can we let Checo through, please, let Checo back through. Bird Okay if Max doesn’t pass Fernando, he’ll pass you through at the exit of turn 12.
Lambiase Don’t worry about the DRS, Max. Let Czech through. Max, let’s check through, please. Bird Okay so Max will let you through.
Lambiase Max, what happened? Perez Okay. Thank you for that, guys. Thank you.
Verstappen I already told you last time, you guys, don’t ask me that again. OK? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it. Horner I’m sorry about that, Checo.
Lambiase Into the pit lane, please. Bird Recharge on, Checo. Fail 84. We’ll debrief everything afterwards.
Perez Yeah. It shows who he really is.
Bird Don’t know what to say, Checo. Safety Car ruined it.
Perez Yeah, what a race. We were nowhere in the end with these mediums.
Bird We go again next week.
Bird Into the pit lane and leave it in P1.
Bird Leave it in P1, jump out.

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