Verstappen explains inability to re-attack Hamilton in Bahrain F1 GP

Max Verstappen has explained why he could not attempt another pass on Lewis Hamilton after giving back the lead following a track limits violation late in Formula 1's Bahrain race.

Verstappen explains inability to re-attack Hamilton in Bahrain F1 GP

Verstappen had closed in on Hamilton during his 17-lap third and final stint – during which he enjoyed an 11-lap tyre-life advantage over his rival – in what was a thrilling conclusion to F1's 2021 season-opener after leading the early stages from pole and falling behind thanks to Mercedes' aggressive strategy calls.

The Red Bull driver attacked Hamilton at the outside of the controversial Turn 4 right-hander on lap 53 of 56 and although he got ahead, Verstappen had gone too far past the kerb on the outside of the corner, which the FIA was policing as the track limit.

He gave the position back to Hamilton further around the same lap but could not get close again thereafter to try another move for the lead, and the Mercedes driver held on to win by 0.745s.

When asked why he had been unable to attack again by Autosport in the post-event press conference, Verstappen said: "[After giving the place back] it was super hard to follow.

"I got into Turn 13 [on lap 43] and I had a big oversteer [moment]. And from there onwards I just didn't have the tyres anymore to attack.

"Of course my tyres were like 10 or 11 laps younger, but with these cars that advantage goes away very quickly once you get within one-and-a-half seconds.

"And with the wind and the direction it was, it was not helping."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Verstappen also stated that giving Hamilton the position back at another point later in the same lap would not have been fair to his rival.

"If I would have let him by later then it's an unfair way of giving the position back," he said. "Because then you're so close and it's [an] easy DRS pass. So, I had to do it after Turn 10."

Verstappen also seemed to suggest that he was unhappy with Red Bull's strategy, saying: "With these cars the last few years, it is very important to have track position and we gave that up today."

But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner argued the race was "definitely not" lost on the pitwall.

Horner added: "Mercedes had very strong pace at the beginning of the race. We couldn't break [away] and create a gap to cover them.

"Their degradation looked impressive. So, Max could never get more than two seconds clear of Lewis.

"They obviously pitted early for the undercut, we then conceded track position.

"And going into the race we very much fixed our strategy on a two-stop.

"They obviously went early again on their last stop. We stayed out 10 laps longer, so we had a better tyre for the final stint, but, unfortunately, Lewis had just enough to be able to hold on."

shares
comments

Related video

Horner: Verstappen letting Hamilton through "the right thing" in Bahrain GP

Previous article

Horner: Verstappen letting Hamilton through "the right thing" in Bahrain GP

Next article

Wolff: F1 track limit rules must be clear and not ‘a Shakespeare novel’

Wolff: F1 track limit rules must be clear and not ‘a Shakespeare novel’
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Drivers Max Verstappen
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Alex Kalinauckas
The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1 Plus

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1

Continuing to be socially acceptable as public views shift globally is vitally important to the future of motor racing, says PAT SYMONDS - especially in Formula 1, the championship that represents the technological peak

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen Plus

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one big encouraging sign for Red Bull. The trouble is, it looks like making good on that gain will require its superstar driver to avoid repeating a mistake made today that left him well down the FP2 order

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021