Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez insist they have cleared the air after a series of near misses on the opening lap of the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race on Saturday.
The pair fought for the lead on the opening lap, with Perez getting ahead into Turn 1 and then squeezing Verstappen onto the grass on the exit of the corner.
“He pushed me off, what the f—?” Verstappen said on team radio.
Verstappen barged his way past Perez at Turn 3, running the Mexican off the track, before a final battle for position at Turn 4 saw Verstappen come out on top and Perez lose a place to the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg.
Perez then opened his radio channel to say: “What’s wrong with Max, man?”
After winning the sprint race by 21 seconds from Perez, who recovered to second place when he overtook Hulkenberg on lap 12, Verstappen still appeared agitated on team radio.
“The exit of Turn 1, that was not really nice,” he said. “We need to have a chat about that.”
The two drivers were seen in conversation immediately after the race discussing the two incidents.
“We just spoke about it, because when the moment happens you don’t know why it gets to that, but then after the race we talked about it and it’s all good,” Verstappen said.
Perez added: “We have spoken about it and on the first lap it is always tricky in these conditions. There are no issues.”
Perez said he was not aware Verstappen was so close to him when they exited the first corner.
“I had a good start but then just went a bit deep into Turn 1, so at the exit I was trying to protect my line and didn’t realise that Max was pretty much alongside me and that he was into the grass,” he said. “The visibility was quite poor, and although it wasn’t raining that much on those first laps, it was quite hard to see behind.
“And when I realised that Max was there I was a little bit too late and I think that was it. We spoke about it after the race and it was just a bit of a shame that I lost a place to Nico, but other than that we got the maximum points for the team.”
When it was put to Verstappen that the incidents might have been more costly to Red Bull in different circumstances, he responded: “It might have, but it wasn’t.
“We don’t need to make it a big story, you know?
“It’s what happens sometimes: we talk about it, we clear it and it’s fine. That’s how human beings work sometimes.
“You question, you answer, you solve it, done. You don’t need to write a whole article about it.”
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez shrug off sprint race near misses