Former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan believes reigning world champion Max Verstappen faked a driveshaft problem at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix because he was beaten by team-mate Sergio Perez.
The Dutchman started the race from fifteenth place after a driveshaft failure in qualifying and then made his way to second place, where he followed the leader Perez, in the second car of the Red Bull team, about five seconds behind the finish line.
The two-time world champion radioed the vibrations in the rear of the RB19 that he felt before the breakdown in qualifying, and Perez easily remained in the lead at a safe distance.
In the final lap, Verstappen did manage to set the fastest race lap ever held by the Mexican, suggesting he could go faster, but Jordan believes he was told not to try to overtake Perez, given that started the race from the best starting position, because if I were in Christian Horner's shoes, I would have ordered the same for my racer.
"I think Max made something up about the drive shaft to save face," Jordan said. "I am absolutely sure that it was explained to him before the race that Checo is in pole position and if he is leading in the race, he must not overtake him. That's my opinion, because if I were running the team, that's exactly what I'd tell him before the race. You don't have to be Einstein. Max, in my opinion, found a good excuse, i.e. the drive shaft.”
Former racer David Coulthard disagrees with Jordan, who recalled last year's race in Brazil, where Max disobeyed the team's instructions and returned the position to Perez. "I think Max has proven that he always expresses his feelings and doesn't make anything up," said the Scotsman. "We heard him asking about the fastest lap and when they told him not to think about it, he told them that he was still thinking about it. He remembers very well the last race of the 2021 season, when he and Lewis Hamilton were tied for the halfway point and one point for a fast lap could end up deciding the championship. We would ask a lot from Max, which they found out last year in Brazil."
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