Verstappen on restart drama: Race control ‘created the problem’

Max Verstappen says the drama and chaos that ensued after the second restart of the Australian Grand Prix was entirely of race control’s making.

F1 fans in Melbourne were treated to three standing starts over the course of an incident-packed afternoon at Albert Park that also included three red flags.

The second and final restart – triggered by Kevin Magnussen running wide at Turn 2 with four laps to go, hitting the wall and losing a wheel – led to multiple contacts on the exit of the first corner involving Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso, and both Alpine drivers who retired on the spot.

Ultimately, the race ended with the field taking to the track for a final procession lap behind the safety car, but Verstappen questioned why there had been a red flag in the first place after Magnussen’s off when there was only a handful of laps remaining in the race.

“I think it’s quite clear, I just didn’t understand why we needed a red flag,” said the Red Bull driver and race winner.

“I think if you would have had a Safety Car and then just had a normal rolling start we wouldn’t have had all these shunts and then you have a normal finish.

“So they created the problems themselves at the end of the day.”

    Read also: Norris questions ‘fairness’ of late restarts after Aussie GP chaos

Verstappen’s view was shared by several of his colleagues, with Lando Norris claiming that late restarts only add risk and often prove unfair for drivers.

The Dutchman also highlighted his own vulnerability on the final restart, having lost out to both Mercedes drivers earlier in the day on the race’s original launch from the grid.

“I think my start was a little bit better than what I had before, so I was happy about that because the tyres were really, really cold,” he said.

“And then, of course, after Turn 1, I saw there were massive gaps behind me, so I thought already there was something going on.

“Then I saw the replays and it was just a lot of chaos behind. So yeah, how it goes sometimes.”


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But there was a bout of controversy surrounding Verstappen’s position on the grid on the second restart as the Red Bull driver had lined up and stopped right on the very limit of his grid slot, a maneuver that was questioned by many and which occurred in the wake of the grid box sanctions handed to Esteban Ocon and Alonso in Bahrain and in Jeddah.

However, Verstappen’s position was deemed as legal and on the limit rather than over it.

“To be honest with you I think I braked a bit late and then I lost my reference a bit,” Verstappen admitted when asked about his position.

“But then I looked and I was like I still have a little bit more space. I actually moved a bit forwards and yeah, it was really on the limit.

“But on the limit is on the limit, it’s not over the limit.”

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