Max Verstappen’s Pass on Hamilton “Fair and Compliant” – Ralf Schumacher

Published 03/30/2021, 7:10 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

The first round of the 2021 Formula One season in Bahrain concluded with Lewis Hamilton winning the race by defending his position against Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. However, it was not without its fair share of controversy. Ralf Schumacher for one believes that Verstappen’s move to take the lead was fair but was deemed not to be so, compelling him to give up the position to Hamilton.


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On lap 53 of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Verstappen went off-track at turn 4 to overtake Hamilton for first place. However, the Dutchman had to give the position back to the Mercedes driver as it was illegal to do that.

Lewis Hamilton had to push the limits to the end of the race to battle Verstappen. He ended up winning the race, taking home all 25 points while Verstappen had to settle for second place.


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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

Schumacher states that what Max Verstappen did was fair

Former F1 driver, now Sky Sports reporter, Ralf Schumacher said, “From the end of the field to the very front and to the winner, Lewis Hamilton, who was very surprising to me. Although Max Verstappen was faster. It was Lewis’s clever strategy and driving skills that made the difference in the end – along with the momentous decision by the FIA.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“It is extremely unfortunate for me that Verstappen had to give up the lead a few laps before the end of the race on instructions from the race management. I still consider his off-track overtaking maneuver in Turn 4 to be fair and compliant.”

(Quotes have been translated via Google)

The Dutchman wasn’t happy about giving up his position

As soon as Red Bull took the lead, Hamilton complained about what Verstappen had done. Consequently, Max gave up his place to let Hamilton through.

On the team radio, the Dutchman said, “Why didn’t you let me go? I could have easily got the five seconds. I prefer to lose like that than to be second like this.” 

In the post-race interview with Sky Sports as quoted by Planet F1, Verstappen said, “There were a few things going on throughout the whole race. They [Mercedes] undercutted us so we were just sticking to our strategy, which I think was working fine, but the problem is these cars are so hard to pass.”
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Second placed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

“Once you have that track position it showed again today that it’s just super powerful.As soon as I got close I had that one shot because Lewis got held up a bit with a backmarker, and I went outside of the track.


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“I of course then gave the position back, tried again, but my tyres were not in a good state anymore to really put the pressure on, so that was a shame,” Verstappen concluded.

The Red Bull prodigy will be even more motivated to win the race in Italy, where the second round will take place. Will he be able to beat the Knight at Imola?


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Arpit Gomes

631 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.