Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez endured one of the toughest days of the season in the 2022 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix, where the pair finished sixth and seventh at Interlagos to end a run of 19 consecutive Grands Prix for the team.
After starting the race from third and fourth on the grid, contact with Lewis Hamilton on Lap 7 whilst attempting a pass in the first turn damaged Verstappen’s front wing, necessitating a pit stop that dropped him down to 17th place. A further five-second penalty for the incident made Verstappen’s drive back through the field even more difficult.
Pérez held down a podium position for most of the race, but following a late safety car, Pérez dropped back through the field from third as the race entered the final 10 laps.
He was passed by Verstappen with four laps remaining to finish sixth and seventh, as Mercedes driver George Russell claimed victory for the first time.
With only the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix left to run, Pérez is now tied with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on 290 points for second place in the 2022 Drivers’ Standings, setting up a thrilling final race that could net Oracle Red Bull Racing a 1–2 overall, as well as the Constructors’ Championship.
We had no pace again today, similar to yesterday – we were sliding too much, and we had bad degradation, so it was hard to attack. I didn’t quite understand the five-second penalty for the incident with Lewis, but it didn’t affect the race too much, as we already lacked pace. We’ve discussed internally as a Team the matter between Checo and myself and have moved on as a Team. If he needs help and there is a chance to help him in Abu Dhabi, then I will be there, and I will, of course, support him. We’re fighting for first and second in the Drivers’ Championship, so we’ll work hard to achieve that.
I am a bit surprised by our performance today. We were very slow on the medium tyre and also on the soft. I was competitive, but as soon as we switched, I couldn’t defend. I lost more positions due to the safety car; without that, I think I could have finished third or fourth. We were definitely down on pace this weekend, so I hope we can go back to our usual form next weekend in Abu Dhabi. I am obviously disappointed with what happened today between Max and myself. It is something we have discussed internally. We will move on and keep working together as a Team. I am sure if I need support in Abu Dhabi, it will be different and going forward, we will always put the Team first.
Christian Horner – Team Principal & CEO
We haven’t often left a Grand Prix weekend this season feeling disappointed. Coming away from Brazil with P6 and P7 is far from the standards we have set for ourselves this season. The main issue for us was our pace. George drove very well all weekend, and the various updates Mercedes have been bringing throughout the year have seen them get quicker and quicker. We need to understand why we gave away performance this weekend and will come out firing on all cylinders in Abu Dhabi.
Regarding Max and Checo, we have discussed the matter internally and go into Abu Dhabi as a Team to do the very best we can to help Checo achieve second place in the Championship. Max is supportive of that. Ultimately, we work as a Team and race as a Team. That ethos has seen us gain such great success this season and will continue to drive us forward.