The world champion defied a team order to allow Perez to repass him for sixth place on the final lap of last weekend's Sao Paulo Grand Prix and help the Mexican’s bid to secure second place in the F1 2022 drivers’ standings. 

It was reported that Verstappen’s refusal to help Perez stemmed from an incident earlier this season at the Monaco Grand Prix, with Perez said to have admitted to ‘deliberately’ hampering him by crashing in qualifying. 

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Red Bull issued a statement defending Verstappen on Thursday ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, admitting he was left in a “compromising situation” due to only being informed of the request at the final corner “without all the necessary information being relayed”. 

“After that race [Brazil], I looked very bad in the media,” Verstappen said in the pre-race driver press conferences. 

“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. 

“So all the things I've read are pretty disgusting. 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. I just don’t understand when people don’t have the full picture to start attacking me like that. 

“I hope one day they actually understand what was going on, because it’s just unacceptable behaviour. 

“Also in this paddock, to be honest. Not only fans but a lot of people, what they have been writing about me is ridiculous.”

Asked why he doesn’t want to take the opportunity to set the record straight if he is upset about what has been written in the press, Verstappen replied: “We keep it between the team and myself. They don’t know the real story, so you don’t need to write the story. 

“I’m just a bit fed up with all this bullshit 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.”