Categories: News

Will poor knowledge of rules cost Max Verstappen the victory in Bahrain?

Excitement on the Red Bull pit wall just about halfway through the race. The team management informs Verstappen that Hamilton will go far over the curbs when he comes out of turn 4 and will thus be able to develop more speed. The Dutchman, in full pursuit of the Briton, is surprised: “How can that not be against the rules?”

An understandable response. Drivers who followed a too wide driving line during the free practice and qualifying sessions in that fourth corner saw their lap times scrapped. That happened, among other things, to Verstappen’s new teammate at Red Bull, Sergio Pérez. It is therefore logical that Verstappen made sure that he did not make that mistake during the race. After all, during previous races, four of those violations had resulted in a sanction.

Not so in Bahrain. And that can be read literally in the notes that race director Michael Masi distributed during the drivers briefing on Friday evening. There would be no punishments, the Australian had reported. A detail, but one with which Hamilton saw an opportunity to improve his lap times. If Verstappen had followed that same faster driving line for almost 50 laps in the race, he might have joined Hamilton a lap or two earlier. And he could probably have passed him definitively. An inattention with serious consequences.

Why Verstappen in his overtaking maneuver, where he walked in the same infamous corner to pass Hamilton, then was whistled back by the race management, so that he had to give his first place back to the Briton? Because in case of an overtaking attempt, regulation point 27.3 applies. This states that it is forbidden to gain a position advantage by leaving the piste. That was the case with Verstappen.

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