Max Verstappen is on track to be one of, if not the greatest driver in Formula 1 history. The 25-year-old Dutchman was recently crowned the series champion for the second time. He has 34 wins to his name and 19 pole positions and he’s the face of the sport going forward.
But Verstappen isn’t always the most popular driver. Since entering the series in 2015, his aggressive attitude and bristly personality have often rubbed fans and even other drivers the wrong way. The most recent example of this involved Verstappen’s own teammate, Sergio Perez.
While Verstappen has already nailed down the 2022 drivers championship, Perez is locked in a tight battle with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for second place. Perez and Leclerc enter Sunday’s race at Abu Dhabi, the last of the year, tied with 290 points. Last weekend, Verstappen had the chance to aid Perez in that battle and opted not to.
The Red Bull team asked Verstappen to yield a position to Perez on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Instead, he responded over the radio, saying “I told you already last time, you guys don’t ask that again to me. Okay, are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.”
The move angered Perez, who said after the race that Verstappen “showed who he really is.”
The champion has come under intense scrutiny over the decision during the week between races, and now he says he’s had enough.
Max Verstappen Says He’s ‘Fed Up With All This Bullsh-t’ After Sergio Perez Incident
Verstappen spoke with media members on Thursday ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend. He said that he and his family have received social media abuse since the incident and called the behavior “disgusting.”
“After that race, I looked very bad in the media,” Verstappen said “But they didn’t have the clear picture.
“To immediately put me down like that is ridiculous, to be honest, because they don’t know how I work within the team and what the team appreciates about me.”
Red Bull, Perez and Verstappen have all said that the incident has since been resolved. But none of the three have clarified what was determined. Verstappen seemed particularly troubled by attacks on his family, including his father, former F1 driver Jos Verstappen.
“All the things I’ve read are pretty disgusting,” Verstappen said. “They’ve started attacking my family, they threatened my sister, my mum, my girlfriend, and my dad.
“And for me, that goes way too far when you don’t have the facts of what’s actually going on and for me that definitely has to stop. If you have a problem with me that’s fine, but don’t go after my family because that is just unacceptable.
He then blamed media coverage of the incident for inciting the online backlash.
“I’m just a bit fed up with all this bulls— just going around all the time. As soon as there’s something negative, it needs to be highlighted. It’s pretty sickening to be honest, being part of all that. At the end of the day, I haven’t done anything wrong, people just misunderstood what was going on.”
Verstappen has since vowed to help Perez if at all possible in Sunday’s final Grand Prix of the year.