“That was the wrong call” - The one blemish on Verstappen’s near-perfect season

Ex-F1 driver Romain Grosjean believes Max Verstappen’s decision not to follow team orders at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix was the only blemish on his 2022 title-winning campaign.
1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World…

Verstappen stormed to his second world title with ease, winning 15 of the 22 races last year.

The Dutchman won nine of the last 11 races, only failing to register a podium finish in Singapore and Brazil.

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Unlike in his first title-winning campaign, there were fewer controversial moments as Verstappen showed great maturity and consistency.

Things did boil over at the penultimate race in Brazil, when Verstappen decided not to let Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez through for sixth-place.

At the time, Perez was in a close fight with Charles Leclerc for P2 in the championship while Verstappen had already wrapped up the title.

Grosjean - who drove for Renault, Lotus and Haas between 2009 and 2020 - lauded Verstappen for his 2022 campaign.

"I honestly think it's one of the best [individual seasons] I've seen in F1," Grosjean told the Motor Sport Magazine podcast.

"It’s 99 per cent perfect, [with the] one per cent being Brazil. I think that was the wrong call and the wrong message. Apart from that, there’s nothing you can say [to fault it]. He was there in qualifying, he was there in the race. 

"When you start [going on a] positive spiral, you get everything right and nothing can stop you. [Apart from Brazil], honestly, I don't think you can do much better."

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB18 performs donuts at the end of the race. Formula 1 World
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB18 performs donuts at…

Grosjean hailed Verstappen for being in “a different league”, admitting he had sympathy for Perez as the Dutchman’s teammate.

 "You don't [beat him]! [It's] as simple as that,” Grosjean added. “Those two races, [he] was just stronger than anyone else. In those races, it’s not hard to be one of the competitors, because you’re just like, 'Well, it is another level'."

"It's hard to be a teammate, because when you see that happening and you don't [match] it, it hurts a lot," he explained.

"But for the rest of us, [you accept they're] on a different league."

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