Teamwork Makes the Dream Work – A Mexican perspective on Max and Checo’s feud.

Note: I will not be addressing any speculations.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” — Michael Jordan.

October 09th, 2022

Max Verstappen becomes the world champion thanks to a mistake from Leclerc that ended up with a penalization. Checo took second place and helped Max win his 2nd World Drivers’ Championship by taking important points to Charles.

October 21st, 2022

The bulls arrived at The Circuit of the Americas with the need to earn 25 points to win the Constructors Championship. That weekend, Max Verstappen won the United States Grand Prix, and it was the first time Red Bull conquered the Constructors Championship.

Won by the team that delivers the best results together, the Constructors Championship is for the team that works as a team to be the best partners on track.

Since Max arrived at Red Bull, he and the team have struggled to find a teammate that really worked and acted as a partner. Ricciardo, Gasly, Albon, none of them could do it. Ricciardo ended his contract with the team when he saw Max was becoming the first driver. He didn’t mind obeying team orders, causing internal problems that were impossible to solve.

Talking about Albon and Gasly, they never showed; the talent to deliver the results the team needed in their will to win Constructors Championship. When Checo arrived with The Bulls, he reached the team in a way that made everyone judge his talent and qualification to be part of the team.

Checo had a hard time adapting and understanding the car. Developed to Verstappen’s needs and way of driving the car made it difficult for Checo to give great first impressions. But Cheo managed to start doing what the team had been looking for for so long. And the reason why they hire him. Be the best squire Max could ever find.

Monaco GP 2021: Sergio Pérez did an overcut on Lewis Hamilton to take 6th position. Max Verstappen wins the race.

Azerbaijan GP 2021: Sergio keeps Lewis behind the whole race. And after Max’s accident during the restart, Lewis goes straight on the braking and ends 16th.

French GP 2021: Thanks to Checo’s position on track, Hamilton does not go into boxes. Max recovers time, overtakes Hamilton, and wins the race.

Silverstone GP 2021: Sergio takes the fastest lap from Hamilton.

Turkish GP 2021: Sergio’s defense against Hamilton made him finish in 5th place, while Max finished second.

United States GP 2021: Checo forced Hamilton to pit too early to prevent an undercut. Max wins the race.

Brazil GP 2021: Sergio takes the fastest lap from Hamilton.

Abu Dhabi GP 2021: Checo’s defense against Hamilton makes him lose 10 seconds. And by the time of the Safety Car, he could pit because he didn’t have the time to prevent losing positions.

Spanish GP 2022: Sergio obeys the team’s orders. He doesn’t attack Max. And Max wins the race.

Silverstone GP 2022: Damage control.  With a race doomed for Max Verstappen, Checo wins 3rd place and leaves Charles out of the podium.

Hungarian GP 2022: Max spins, and Checo protects him to avoid George Russell’s overtake.

Japanese GP 2022: Sergio Perez pushed to the limit into Leclerc. Bring about to make a mistake that cost him a penalization. This penalization made Max become Drivers’Champion automatically.

So, as a summary, in these two seasons, there have been twelve times in which Checo; somehow helped Max in his pursuit of both Drivers’ Championships. Now on what happened this last weekend, there’s a lot of speculation, but let’s go straight into the facts.

During the Mexico GP, there were a lot of questions from the Mexican and International press, asking Max if he would let Checo win his home race. Max openly replied that he won’t because Sergio has proved, this year, that he can do it by himself. So, it wasn’t any secret that Max won’t easily give any position on the track. Then what’s the matter with everything that happened during the Brazil GP?

First, Max has been a second-time Drivers’ Champion since October 9th, 2022. These last races meant he could mark one more record for being the most successful driver in one season. Max has already beaten Schumacher and Vettel by only one race, but as we all know, Max wants more. I could have understood his reasons if he was winning the race and Red Bull asked him to give the position to Checo. But it wasn’t the case.

Max was fighting to achieve a few points. He had nothing to win or lose. The only thing Max would win was unbelievable marketing for being the best team in F1. Two teammates that get along with each other (or they seem to) help each other whenever the other one needs it. That would have sold a lot. But also the recognition of everyone watching. He would have shown off that he is grateful and proved he knows how to be a team player.

No one can deny the greatness of the beast that is Max Verstappen. He has shown talent, ambition, and fierceness, except that he has never shown partnership with none of his teammates. What makes us remember “one of the greatest” at any sport? We don’t remind them only of their achievements but also of the human being they showed on and off the court.

Schumacher had given track positions when his teammate needed them.  He even did it for Sebastian Vettel to help him win his third title. Hamilton did it in 2017 at the Turkish GP. If Hamilton couldn’t pass Kimi and Seb, Hamilton needed to give back the position. And he did it, even tho it cost him a podium and a breach gap close to 19 points from his teammate.

Even Senna gave a position to his teammate in McLaren in 1991, Gerhard Berger, for him to win the race as a gesture of respect. On that Japanese GP, Senna was already a champion thanks to Mansel’s DNF, so in the last lap at the final corner, he slowed the pace letting his teammate and friend go thru and celebrate together at the podium.

How I see it is that Max is an out-of-this-world driver. But he got to remember that he is part of a team. A brand and a team that has given him everything it could to make him who he is today. You can’t pretend to feel better or greater than a team. He should have been grateful not only to Checo but also to everyone working for the team. Teamwork makes the dream work. And to be remembered as one of the greatest, he should stop pumping up his ego and start acting and thinking as an authentic first driver. Not everything in life is winning on the track.

@andyf1girl on twitter 

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