Former F1 champion Mika Hakkinen has reminded Max Verstappen "the team always comes first" after Red Bull orders were disobeyed in Brazil.
After Red Bull and Verstappen secured both the drivers' and constructors' titles, the team turned its focus to ensuring a first championship one-two for the team.
Despite this, the Dutchman ignored a direct instruction from his team to drop back and allow Sergio Perez past on the last lap of Sunday's São Paulo Grand Prix.
As a result, the Mexican now heads to Abu Dhabi level on points with Charles Leclerc but behind on a countback of wins.
It is understood that Verstappen's reluctance to help his team-mate stems from a situation in qualifying at Monaco earlier this year, where Perez crashed and denied the reigning champion the opportunity to improve his time.
“The team always comes first and if you have an agreement about how you and your team-mate work together it is always best to keep to that," wrote Hakkinen in his Unibet column.
"None of us know the precise terms of Max’s agreement with Red Bull, but clearly, he is the number one driver and in return, he has brought them two world titles.
“However Sergio has been a big help to Max at times, and together they have won the teams’ championship this year, so it would be good to see Max help Sergio to finish second in the drivers' championship. Particularly now that Sergio and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc are on equal points."
Stakes high for Abu Dhabi
Verstappen was whisked into the Red Bull hospitality unit immediately after the chequered flag fell at Interlagos for a tense debrief that involved team principal Christian Horner and advisor Helmut Marko.
Only after this was the Dutchman sent back out to complete his media duties with the clear message that he will assist Perez in Abu Dhabi should it be required.
"I see that Christian Horner has confirmed that they have discussed the situation, shaken hands and are focusing on helping Sergio finish second in Abu Dhabi, so it will be interesting to see what happens," added Hakkinen.
“I am looking forward to the final race. The battle for second place in both the drivers' and teams' championships is still alive and it’s going to be fascinating.
"Ferrari will want to beat Mercedes, Charles will want to beat Sergio, so there is still a lot at stake.”