'Dumb idiot': Max Verstappen fury sparks F1 controversy

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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F1 championship leader Max Verstappen said he qualifying was ruined after Alpha Tauri's Tuki Tsunoda disrupted his and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez's final flying laps. Pictures: Getty Images/F1
F1 championship leader Max Verstappen said he qualifying was ruined after Alpha Tauri's Tuki Tsunoda disrupted his and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez's final flying laps. Pictures: Getty Images/F1

Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen has labelled a rival from Red Bull's sister team a 'dumb idiot' in an incident which risks sparking inter-team tension.

Verstappen's bid for pole position at the Mexican GP was thwarted by Alpha Tauri's Yuki Tsunoda, whose off-track excursion ruined both Verstappen and his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez's flying laps.

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Tsunoda had been on a slow lap as Perez first approached him, taking to an escape road to get out of the Mexican driver's way.

However his evasive move caused a puff of dust to rise up, distracting Perez and nearly causing a collision between the two as Perez went off-track as well.

Meanwhile, Verstappen had been behind Perez and was similarly put off by the commotion in front of him - however he was able to finish his lap, despite losing some time in the process.

“Unbelievable, what a dumb idiot,” Verstappen said on team radio.

Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton will start from first and second respectively, with Verstappen and Perez in third and fourth.

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo will start from 7th for McLaren.

The tangle between Tsunoda, Perez and Verstappen will make for some awkward conversations at Red Bull, who also sponsor the Alpha Tauri sister team Tsunoda drives for.

Read Bull team principal Christian Horner was fairly uncompromising in his comments about the incident after qualifying was over.

“I think we got Tsunoda’d,” he told Sky Sports.

“Both drivers were up on their last lap. Max was up two-and-a-half tenths, I think Checo was just under two-tenths up.

“I don’t understand why he was just cruising around at that part of the circuit.

“It’s disappointing because it affected both of the drivers because they’re both pretty annoyed.

“But we’re still second row of the grid and can have a great race from there.”

Red Bull controversy erupts after Mexican GP mix-up

Predictably, championship leader Verstappen was unhappy to be giving up track position to title rival Hamilton for the race.

He said he's backed off, expecting yellow flags to be waved as Perez and Tsunoda left the track.

“Actually, in the last lap, I was on for a good lap, but then I don’t know what happened in front of me," Verstappen said.

“There were two guys going off so I thought there was going to be a yellow flag, so I back out and then the lap is of course destroyed.”

For his part, Tsunoda was confused by the criticism from Red Bull, saying Perez made a mistake on his own behind him, while there was little more he could have done to ensure Verstappen got through cleanly.

Max Verstappen waits to get on track during qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen will line up third on the grid for the Mexican GP, after his final push lap in qualifying was compromised. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“I went outside [the track] and I couldn’t do anything more. Where should I go?” Tsunoda questioned after qualifying.

“I don’t know what they expected me to do.

“I’m a bit worried now because I’ll have to discuss it with Red Bull whether I did anything wrong.”

Q1 was delayed by 26 minutes after Lance Stroll crashed out.

The Canadian driver lost control of his Aston Martin on the exit of the final right-hand corner before slamming into the nearside barrier.

Stroll was unharmed in the accident, but he sustained significant damage to his car.

When Q1 resumed, Fernando Alonso was the major casualty, knocked out in 16th.

But the Spaniard will be bumped up the grid with his Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon and AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda thrown to the back following engine penalties.

With AAP

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