Max prepared the driveshaft issue return to look pristine

He was determined to show that he was capable of mastering any challenge, and the pristine look of the issue was evidence of his success.

Verstappen began the race 15th on the grid and made it to second at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. However, he was not able to reel in his colleague. He took the extra point for the fastest lap on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit tour, taking the point away from Perez.

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Jordan commenting on the Formula For Success podcast said, “I think that Max concocted something about a driveshaft to make himself look good because I’m absolutely convinced he was told before he went out, if Checo was leading the race, and he’s been on pole position, you have not [got] ability, and you have not got permission to pass him. That’s just my view. Because if I was running a team, that is exactly what I would have said before they went out.” 

He continued, "You don’t have to be Einstein to work it out. Max, in my opinion, found a decent excuse, which was the driveshaft. Christian Horner comes out and tells us: ‘No matter what we did, we went back to the base, we went and looked at all the data, and we looked at everything, we couldn’t find anything.' 

“Guys, come on. There’s enough in this to realize that we don’t want to be bull***. This was a situation where Max managed the position to hold his face while still taking second place.”

However, David Coulthard disagrees and believes that whatever Verstappen said should be taken at face value. “I think Max is so much heart on sleeve, that he doesn’t concoct anything, what you see is what you get,” said Coulthard. “A little bit like when he was on the radio saying ‘what’s the fastest lap?’ And they said, ‘don’t think about that.’ And he’s like, ‘well, I am.’ 

"He remembers very well, he went into the final race of the World Championship in 2021 on equal points with Lewis Hamilton, and they were equal to the half point because of half points being awarded earlier in the year. So that one point for the fastest lap could make the difference later in the year because clearly, these cars are very close to the edge. So I hear you, EJ, and I know you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the team principals and those that control Formula 1, but I think Max when he says it, he means that. If he doesn’t say it, it’s because he doesn’t think it.” 

When asked by Jordan what he would do as a team principal, Coulthard admitted it would be a “very big ask” to compel team orders on Verstappen, seeing how things turned out last time when Verstappen refused to move aside for Perez at Interlagos on the final lap for sixth place.

“Well, I would want them not to race for risk of damaging the cars because it’s an easy one-two, and it’s early in the season,” he explained. "The drivers are highly paid employees of the race team, so it’s not unreasonable for the team to give instructions from time to time. But you’ve got a double World Champion, you’ve got someone that without him, you would not have won those two World Championships. I think that is a very big ask to go on the radio, as they found out in Brazil last year, and ask Max not to do something, you know, you’re taking away the very DNA that makes him so great.”

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