Max Verstappen beefs up security in preparation for hostile reception in Mexico

By Sports Desk October 26, 2023

Max Verstappen has beefed up his personal security as he prepares for a hostile reception at Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez’s home race in Mexico.

Verstappen was jeered by Perez’s supporters at last weekend’s podium presentation in Austin as the triple world champion celebrated his 15th win of the season.

Chants of “Checo, Checo” – in support of Perez – were also audible during the Dutch national anthem.

A crowd of nearly 400,000 are expected at the high-altitude Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez over the course of the weekend, with practice starting on Friday and it is understood Verstappen will be flanked by multiple security guards in the paddock.

Perez’s fans are unhappy Verstappen did not help the Mexican secure second place in last season’s championship after he ignored a team order at the penultimate round in Brazil.

Perez has won only twice this season – his last victory in Azerbaijan on April 30 – with Verstappen racing to his third title in as many years.

The paddock in Mexico City has become one of the most manic on the calendar, with drivers mobbed as they make their way from the motorhome to the garage.

And Perez is also expected to have a bigger entourage than normal to cover-off his enthusiastic fanbase.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and the team’s motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko will also be accompanied by security guards.

Speaking after last weekend’s race in Austin, Horner said: “I don’t think Max is going to get the warmest reception in Mexico, but that is water off a duck’s back to him.

“One year you are the villain and the next year you are the hero.”

Perez heads into this weekend’s round 206 points behind Verstappen. However, he is 39 points clear of third-placed Lewis Hamilton, who was disqualified from second at the Circuit of the Americas for running an illegal floor on his Mercedes.

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  • Perez and Magnussen play blame game after huge Monaco Grand Prix crash Perez and Magnussen play blame game after huge Monaco Grand Prix crash

    Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen both blame each other for the huge crash that forced a restart in the Monaco Grand Prix.

    The pair came together during the opening lap of the race as Magnussen attempted to squeeze through a tight gap on the inside of Perez on the exit of Turn One.

    The Red Bull was destroyed during the incident, while the Dane’s Haas team-mate Nico Hulkenberg also got caught in the chaos.

    All three drivers were unharmed, though were ultimately forced out of the race when it restarted.

    Perez was adamant following the race that the blame should be placed firmly on Magnussen’s shoulders.

    He said: "It was an immense crash, one I'm disappointed about. I think it was totally unnecessary at that point of the race and there was no need for that.

    "At some point, you have two options: Lift or have a contact, and I think it was too unnecessary with the speeds we were doing, and it was a massive contact.

    "It was important to take things a little bit calmer."

    The incident compounded a disappointing weekend for both teams, in particularly Haas after both drivers were disqualified from qualifying and sent to the back of the grid due to a technical infringement.

    However, Magnussen stood by his belief he had every right to go for the gap and was forced into the barrier by the Mexican.

    "From my point of view, I had a good part of my front on Perez's rear and when he went to the wall I got pushed to the wall and made contact with him," Magnussen said.

    "I trusted he was going to leave space for me since I was there. It's not a corner where you're braking into it, it's a bend on the straight, so you have to have a car otherwise you leave the other guy no option.

    "From my point of view, I was there, and I got squeezed to the wall."

    Ultimately, neither driver was punished for the incident as the stewards deemed it a racing incident which needed no further investigation. 
  • Verstappen underwhelmed by 'boring' Monaco Grand Prix Verstappen underwhelmed by 'boring' Monaco Grand Prix

    Max Verstappen reflected on a "really boring" Monaco Grand Prix during a "weekend to forget" for Red Bull.

    The world number one failed to improve on his sixth-place start, after struggling to catch George Russell as he failed to finish on the podium for just the second time this season.

    Verstappen fared better than team-mate Sergio Perez though, as the Mexican was involved in a huge crash just seconds into the race, forcing him out of it after an already poor qualifying.

    Despite being underwhelmed by their performance in Monaco, Verstappen said there were still positives to take from it.

    After the race, he said: "This has been a really tricky challenging weekend with a lot of damage [to Perez's car]. Probably a weekend to forget, but also one to learn a lot from.

    "The only positive to come out of this weekend is that we understand what our big weakness is and that's what we really have to work on. I think if we can solve that and make it decent, we can gain a lot of lap time and we need to do that.

    "We finished where we started. The strategy got ruined with the red flag, so we had to back it up on the medium [tyre]. From lap one on the restart, it was driving four seconds off the pace. Just really, really boring.

    "Naturally we will [see more excitement in Canada]. It still won't be the easiest weekend because of the curbing - our cars aren't very good at that. They've resurfaced the track though, so that might bring something unexpected.

  • Monaco Grand Prix win a 'dream', says Leclerc Monaco Grand Prix win a 'dream', says Leclerc

    Charles Leclerc says he has fulfilled his dreams after winning the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time.

    After claiming pole for the third time on home soil, Leclerc was able to hold onto first and finish on the Monaco podium for the first time.

    Despite an early red flag forcing a restart, the Monegasque was in control throughout, finishing seven seconds ahead of second-place Oscar Piastri.

    It is Leclerc's first win of 2024, and Ferrari's second of the season after Carlos Sainz’s victory at the Australian Grand Prix in March.

    Speaking after Sunday's victory, he said: "No words can explain that. It's such a difficult race. I think the fact twice I've been starting on pole position, and we couldn't quite make it makes it even better in a way.

    "It means a lot, obviously. It's the race which made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver one day.

    "Fifteen laps to the end you're hoping nothing happens, and the emotions are coming.

    "My dad has given everything for me to be here, and it was a dream of ours for me to race here and win here, so it's unbelievable.

    "A huge thank you, the parade laps were special and seeing so many of my friends and people I know in the balcony, it was just very special. This one means a lot."

    Piastri put in an assured drive to finish second, holding off Sainz to prevent a Ferrari one-two and was pleased with the way the race turned out.

    "Thanks to the team. It's been a great weekend all-round. Nice to put a result on the board. I've been strong the last few weekends but didn't have the result to show for it. Nice to have a podium," he said.

    "Charles has been mega all weekend. They have been quick from the very first lap.

    "I'm happy with P2. A good result for the team. Very, very happy."

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