Max Verstappen crowned himself the most hated person in Formula 1 after his refusal to help teammate Sergio Perez at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday. The Dutch racer, who has already wrapped up the 2022 title, did not want to give up sixth place to help his teammate's battle for second place in the championship.

Perez was in contention for a podium place for most of the race, but a late safety car saw him usurped by his rivals. Red Bull Racing chose to leave him out on the slower medium compound tyres, while those around him made the switch to the faster soft compound.

The Mexican driver was quickly passed by Lewis Hamilton, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso. Perez's teammate was next in line, and Red Bull instructed him to let Verstappen by, and was promised the place back if the Dutchman fails to overtake Alonso before the end of the race.

Verstappen failed to pass the Alpine on the final lap, which saw Red Bull instruct him to let Perez through. The two-time world champion ignored team orders and went on to finish in sixth, and later said that he had previously made it clear to the team about his reasons for ignoring their pleas.

Perez was as furious as he was surprised at Verstappen's actions, especially after all the help he gave the Dutchman in the last two campaigns. "Checo" as the Mexico-born driver is fondly known, has let the Dutch racer by on numerous occasions, while also willingly compromising his race to help his teammate.

The Red Bull team were immediate to defuse the situation, with Christian Horner suggesting that they had buried the hatchet going into the final race of the season. However, Verstappen has been slammed for his actions by F1 fans, while many journalists have also called out his behaviour.

"Having slept on it, I still can't quite work out why Max wouldn't have given that place back to Sergio. I suppose we will never know the truth of the matter..." reputed F1 journalist Jennie Gow wrote the day after the race.

Perez's seventh place finish and Leclerc's fourth place finish will now see both drivers arrive at the final race tied in second place on 290 points. Verstappen has vowed to help his teammate in Abu Dhabi, but Ferrari will be hoping their driver - currently ahead owing to race wins - can maintain his position.

Max Verstappen (front, centre) and the entire Red Bull pit crew and team celebrate winning back-to-back world championships at Suzuka
Max Verstappen (front, centre) and the entire Red Bull pit crew and team celebrate winning back-to-back world championships at Suzuka. AFP News