Max Verstappen report highlights much-needed rule change

Whether the report about Max Verstappen “not forgetting” something Sergio Perez did is true or not, Formula 1 should make a rule change that is long overdue.

Mercedes’ George Russell earned the first victory of his Formula 1 career in Sunday afternoon’s Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos Circuit, but much of the focus after the race was on Max Verstappen ignoring Red Bull’s order to let teammate Sergio Perez pass him for sixth place on the final lap.

While Verstappen already secured his second consecutive world championship more than a month ago, Perez is battling for second place in the driver standings with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. The two are tied heading into the season’s 22nd and final race, with Leclerc currently holding the tiebreaker as a result of having one additional win.

Had Perez been able to pass Verstappen for sixth place, he would have been ahead of Leclerc by two, although Leclerc himself finished just one position behind teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., and a pass for third would have gained him three points.

Afterwards, Verstappen told the team not to ask him to let Perez pass him again, noting that he had “reasons” which had apparently already been discussed within the team ahead of time.

It was reported afterwards that Perez intentionally spun in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco back in May and that he even admitted it to Helmut Marko and Christian Horner afterwards. The report claims that Verstappen “has not forgotten” what Perez did.

Perez spun in Q3 just before the tunnel, and Sainz spun upon arrival to the scene, blocking the track. There was no time to resume the session, and Perez qualified in third place ahead of Verstappen in fourth, with the Ferrari duo of Leclerc and Sainz on the front row in first and second, respectively.

Red Bull executed a better strategy than Ferrari in the race itself, and it led to a Perez victory. Sainz finished in second place with Verstappen in third and Leclerc in fourth.

It has been reiterated that the “has not forgotten” element of this situation is speculation at this stage, as it has not been confirmed by Verstappen, Perez, nor anyone within the team. With that being said, it would certainly help explain some of the comments made by Jos Verstappen in the weeks following the event.

Verstappen simply stated the following after Sunday’s race, according to Formula 1.

“You can decide that; I’m not going to say it.”

But whether it’s true or not, the fact that intentionally pulling off something like this is even a possibility for any driver or team is indicative of a need for a rule change that has long been overdue.

If a driver red flags a qualifying session, specifically Q3, he should lose, at the very least, lose his top lap time, or perhaps even be demoted to last place in the session.

This potential change was brought up last year after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashed in Q3 ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix while on provisional pole. Because there wasn’t enough time to resume the session afterwards, he kept pole position, although the damage kept him from competing in the race the following day.

That in itself led to a one-car front row featuring Verstappen, who went on to lead all 78 laps at the 19-turn, 2.074-mile (3.338-kilometer) Monte Carlo, Monaco temporary street circuit.

While there will always be somebody on a fast lap who ends up getting screwed because of the inability to finish that lap when the red flag flies, that’s just the nature of qualifying and can happen whether the session can or can’t resume.

And that’s why any driver who causes a red flag should be penalized significantly, much like in IndyCar, where any driver who triggers a red flag in qualifying loses his two best qualifying speeds from that round and is no longer eligible to advance to the next round .

It’s a rule that has been suggested by several individuals within Formula 1 on a number of occasionsand it’s time to put it into place, even if it didn’t actually have anything to do with what led up to Sunday’s defiance from Verstappen.

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