Verstappen "preferred" time penalty to letting Hamilton past

Max Verstappen says he would have preferred a penalty for overtaking Formula 1 rival Lewis Hamilton off-track at the Bahrain Grand Prix's climax, rather than handing back the lead

Verstappen "preferred" time penalty to letting Hamilton past

After reeling in leader Hamilton on fresher tyres during an absorbing duel, Verstappen used the DRS with four laps to go to attack the Briton into Turn 4.

Verstappen managed to pass Hamilton around the outside but went off the track at the exit, an area which the FIA stewards started policing halfway through the race.

Verstappen quickly let Hamilton past again on the following straight but was then unable to commit to another attack on the final three laps.

A radio exchange between Verstappen and team boss Christian Horner revealed the Dutchman was reluctant to hand the lead back to Hamilton, preferring to stay ahead and take a potential five-second penalty for gaining an advantage by going off the circuit.

"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," Verstappen fumed on the radio, thinking he would be able to gap Hamilton in clear air.

Horner replied explaining the team immediately received word from race control that Verstappen would have to cede the lead.

After the finish Verstappen admitted it was a "shame" to lose his first encounter with Hamilton of the 2021 F1 season, but also thought it was great to be able to challenge Mercedes from the start of the season, something Red Bull has not managed in previous years.

"It's of course a shame but you also have to see the positive," Verstappen said. "We're really putting the fight on to them and I think that's great to start the year like that."

Read Also:

After ceding the lead back to Hamilton, Verstappen was unable to threaten the world champion again on the final few laps, finishing seven tenths in arrears.

Verstappen appeared to struggle getting up to speed coming out of slower corners, an issue that intermittently plagued the Dutchman from the very beginning.

"I don't know what happened there, I don't think that was completely solved the whole race in the low-speed corners," he added.

"We'll have a look at that, but overall we managed to finish the race of course, and score good points."

shares
comments

Related video

Bahrain GP: Hamilton holds off Verstappen to win epic duel

Previous article

Bahrain GP: Hamilton holds off Verstappen to win epic duel

Next article

Hamilton: Bahrain GP "one of the hardest races"

Hamilton: Bahrain GP "one of the hardest races"
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Max Verstappen
Author Filip Cleeren
Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Prime

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021 Prime

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Prime

How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Prime

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments.

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Prime

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021