Bahrain GP: Max Verstappen Fumes at Red Bull After Yielding Race Lead To Hamilton

Published 03/28/2021, 1:16 PM EDT
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL: Second place finisher Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing looks on in parc ferme during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)


Max Verstappen was not a happy man after failing to convert his pole position into a race victory. He was behind Lewis Hamilton for much of the race after Mercedes nailed their strategy calls. And to pour more salt into his wounds, when he did get ahead, he was asked to surrender his lead to Hamilton late in the race.

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Verstappen attacked Hamilton down the turn 1 of the lap 53. He then got the run on the straight leading to turn 4, courtesy of DRS. He drew ahead there but went wide over the edge of the circuit on the exit of the corner as he took the lead.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace

So, the Red Bull control team asked him to give the place back to Lewis Hamilton now and keep on attacking for the remaining three laps, instead of incurring a five-second penalty at the end of the race for exceeding track limits. However, he could not get the job done and pinned the blame on his team over the radio.

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“Why didn’t you just let me go? I could have easily pulled five seconds. I prefer to lose a win like that, than to be second like this.”

But Red Bull defended themselves to Max Verstappen. They told the driver that they were under the mercy of the FIA race control. And couldn’t deny their instructions, even if they wished to do otherwise.

Still a long way to go for Max Verstappen and Red Bull

Mercedes re-asserted their dominance after struggling in much of the pre-season and qualifying. They gave a clear indication to Red Bull or any other rival that they are not yet ready to surrender their throne.

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So, it will be tall order to end their dominance. Hence, the Dutchman and his team have to be patient in these circumstances. There are plenty of positives for them to take away from this race weekend. For starters, they looked like the team to beat as the pace of the RB16B is more than the W12.

Moreover, Sergio Perez drove superbly to finish fifth after starting from the pitlane because of a mechanical issue. So, the season is long and they can have their vengeance in the next round and beyond.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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