CNN

Max Verstappen and Red Bull have reported online threats and abuse against the world champion and his family after he ignored team orders at the São Paulo Grand Prix last weekend.

Verstappen refused his team’s instruction to let team-mate Sergio Perez pass on the final lap of the race in Brazil. Perez said he previously allowed the Dutchman to overtake knowing his position in the race would be restored.

“I was told to let it go, that I was going to take over the job,” Perez told Sky Sports over the weekend, having earlier said Verstappen’s actions showed “who he really is”.

Double F1 world champion Verstappen addressed the controversy on Thursday saying: “After that race, of course, I looked very bad in the media.

“But they didn’t have a clear picture either. Putting me down immediately like that is pretty ridiculous. They don’t know how I work in the team and what the team appreciates about me. Everything I’ve read is pretty disgusting.

He added that on social media people “started attacking my family”.

“They were threatening my sister, my mother, my girlfriend, my father. And for me it goes too far. If you have a problem with me, that’s fine. But don’t sue my family because it’s just wrong.

“When your own sister writes to you that it’s getting way too much and you have to do something, I think that says enough,” he added. “And then it gets to me because you can’t attack my family.”

Red Bull responded to the comments in a statement on Thursday, saying: “The abusive online behavior towards Max, Checo, the team and their respective families is shocking and saddening and is unfortunately something we as a sport , have to deal with depressing regularity. There is no place for that in racing or in society as a whole and we have to do and be better.

“At the end of the day, it’s a sport, we’re here to race. The death threats, the hate mail, the vitriol towards extended family members is deplorable. We value inclusion and want a safe space for that everyone can work and enjoy our sport. The abuse must stop.”

Verstappen also addressed the weekend race controversy

“It wasn’t about the position… It was about something that happened earlier in the season,” he said Thursday.

“I already explained that in Mexico and the team understood and accepted.

“We went to Brazil and I just thought we were just going to race and try to get the best possible result. We had a bit of a misunderstanding on Saturday and Sunday, nothing had been told to me about a possible exchange.

Both Verstappen and Perez confirmed the issues have been resolved internally.

Red Bull admitted the situation was not handled appropriately and added in its statement that the matter was resolved privately.

“As a team, we made mistakes in Brazil. We didn’t consider the situation that unfolded on the last lap and we didn’t agree on a strategy for such a scenario before the race. the team said.

He added that Verstappen was only asked to give up his position at the last corner “without all the necessary information being relayed”.

“This put Max, who has always been an open and fair team player, in a compromising situation with little time to react, which was not our intention,” the statement continued.

“After the race, Max spoke openly and honestly, allowing both drivers to resolve any outstanding issues or concerns. The team accepts Max’s reasoning, the conversation was a personal matter which will remain private between the team and no other comment will not be made.

Perez told Sky Sports the issue had been discussed internally, adding “we are ready to move on as a team”.

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