This Was Max Verstappen’s Penalty if He Never Let Hamilton By in Bahrain GP

Published 03/31/2021, 5:25 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Race winner Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the press conference with second placed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Max Verstappen had a near-perfect weekend in Bahrain before he missed out on winning the season-opener on March 28. There was some controversy when Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton at Turn 4 to take the lead in the final laps. But while doing so, crossed track limits, and thus, he was advised to give up the lead. An F1 steward for the race revealed how the Dutchman would have been penalized had he not complied.

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The Dutchman angrily asked his team on the radio why he couldn’t have kept the lead and accepted the penality. He had the belief that he would have been able to build a big enough lead to nullify whatever penalty was levied. And from what the steward revealsed the 23-year-old could have taken his chances.

Max Verstappen would have been given a five-second penalty according to steward

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In an interview following the race, race steward for the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix, Emanuele Pirro, revealed what would have been the punishment for Verstappen had he not complied.

He said, He would have got a maximum 5-second penalty. You cannot overtake where you go over the track limits. Verstappen did so, although he did not do it on purpose, he simply went a bit straight/wide. At that moment Masi warned Red Bull and advised Verstappen to give back his position.”

Pirro also discussed the role of the race official is only to advise. He said, “A race official will never force anything, because he may not do that he may only suggest it. Verstappen gave back his position and we did not have to deal with the case specifically.”

Pirro also revealed the reasoning for the race director’s warning to Hamilton over exceeding limits at Turn 4.

He said, Hamilton went over the track limits a little too often, creating a repeated advantage. So Masi, the only one with the authority to talk to the teams, called Mercedes to warn them that if Hamilton did it more often he would get the white black flag. That could end up giving him a penalty.

“He stopped immediately and that was that as far as Hamilton was concerned.”

Where should the Dutchman improve ahead of the next race at Imola?

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Max Verstappen would have been greatly satisfied with his performance over the course of the weekend. Verstappen, on the other hand, would have been satisfied with the pace shown by the Red Bull in Qualifying. If it weren’t for the track limits controversy, the 23-year-old could very well have come away from Bahrain with maximum points.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

He should look to do more of the same things at Imola as it looks like the Red Bull will have a significant advantage there, with the high-speed straights at the track. The Austrian team will need to maybe work on their strategy a bit to ensure they’re not outfoxed by Mercedes again.

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DIVE DEEPER

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

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Ashish Thomas

211 articles

Ashish Thomas is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having followed motorsports since age 5, Ashish holds an enviable knowledge of F1 history. Ashish holds extensive experience in sports writing, having previously worked for SportsQuest and Fansided.

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