A heated disagreement erupted within Red Bull at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix when Verstappen refused to give up sixth place to teammate Perez to help the Mexican in his quest to beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to runner-up spot in the 2022 F1 drivers’ championship

Red Bull had asked Perez to let Verstappen through following a late Safety Car period on the proviso that he would return the position if he was unable to catch and pass Fernando Alonso in the final laps.

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Asked why he had disobeyed the instruction after the chequered flag, Verstappen responded over team radio: “I told you already last summer, don’t ask that again to me… I gave my reasons, and I stand by it.”

Dutch media reported Verstappen’s actions were payback for Perez costing him the chance to win the Monaco Grand Prix earlier in the season. 

Perez crashed on his final lap of qualifying, causing a red flag which prevented Verstappen from improving and potentially taking a crucial pole position. Perez went on to win the race.

Perez denied he had crashed deliberately and told reporters in the immediate aftermath of the Interlagos race that Verstappen had shown “who he really is”

Horner insists both Verstappen and Perez have put the incident behind them after Red Bull held clear-the-air talks following the race. 

“I think the root cause of the problem was we had never envisaged being in a situation, being in the final few laps, being in sixth and seventh place in that Grand Prix," said Horner.

"And I think it was something that, as we hadn't envisaged it, we hadn't discussed it before the race, and I think that was a mistake on our part, that we should have thought through or tried to think through every single scenario.

"And so, I think that was a mistake as a team that we didn't discuss it and come up with a very clear plan. Obviously, it was unfortunate what happened, but it was quickly discussed, openly and transparently. 

“And both drivers were very clear, open, and honest with each other, and from that as a team we move on and the dynamic between the drivers is absolutely fine.”

Along with their breach of the F1 cost cap, the incident overshadowed the end to a fantastic season for Red Bull, as the team claimed 17 wins on their way to their first constructors’ world title since 2013, while Verstappen stormed to a second successive drivers’ crown. 

But Horner insists the team will learn from the row and move on.

“I think we made some mistakes in Brazil, we've learned from that and, as I say, we move on,” he added. 

“We’ve done some amazing things. These two drivers have performed incredibly well together. They’re the reason that we are in the position that we are. 

“Max’s season [was] on another planet [last] year. So, we're not going to let the events of a couple of laps in Brazil dictate the year for us."