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Whitmarsh gave no orders to McLaren’s battling drivers

Apr 22, 2013, 11:23 AM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Race Getty Images

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh confirmed he did not issue any team orders to his battling drivers during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The no-holds-barred tussle between Sergio Perez and Jenson Button saw Perez nudge the back of his team mate at turn four, then Button force him off the track later on.

Perez ultimately prevailed but Button did not disguise his displease at his team mate’s tactics, calling them “too aggressive”.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh confirmed that, despite recent high-profile rows involving team orders, he did not instruct his drivers to back off.

“There were a lot of people on the edge of the nerves. But I did not issue a team order to them. That is not the way we go racing, and you cannot change your philosophy.”

However he did issue a rebuke to Perez for making contact with Button: “The one thing I did not approve of was hitting your team mate. He overstepped the mark. I gave my view on that.”

“But he is young and still learning. I would prefer to have to pull a racer back rather than have to push them forward. You would expect a driver to be hardwired to behave as Checo did in a deadly battle.”

  1. bikingscr016 - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Perez’s aggressiveness towards other drivers yesterday was great to watch, but against Button, I was wondering why he was going at him for as long as he did. A couple laps, sure, but for most of the race? They’re lucky Button didn’t get a puncture when Perez made contact with him.

    Very fun to watch, nonetheless!

  2. icemanpjn - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    It was entertaining, but a bit unprofessional against a teammate.

  3. apexassassin - Apr 22, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Meh, I was happy to see Checo take the fight to everyone, including his tire saving and slower teamie. Blame the draft, blame the drs, blame whatever, Checo still drove his ass off and managed his tires well enough to make one less stop than Button and have that great surge in the final laps.

    I applaud Mclaren for not even radioing Perez about it and I’m sure he laments having contact with Button more than Button laments pushing Perez off track. And Button’s whinging was just as sad as when Lewis, Seb, or Alonso do it. Just shut up and drive the car. JB used poor judgement and is nuts for thinking Perez should have “held station” at the point in the race. He’d have been much better off letting him go by and using his draft, drs, and tire management to have a better result rather than blowing his wad midrace.

    I also gotta say I absolutely LOVED seeing Perez do it to Alonso though and their whole duel… like Matchett excited exclaimed during the race coverage “…this is Ferrari versus Mclaren… it doesn’t get any better than this!…”
    – couldn’t agree more Steve!

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