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Formula 1 Austrian GP

Verstappen: F1 drivers almost looked like "amateurs" over Austria track limits

Max Verstappen reckoned Formula 1 drivers were made to look like “amateurs” and “idiots” due to the string of track limit offences during qualifying for the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

The defending two-time champion landed his fourth pole position in a row courtesy of a 1m04.391s effort at the Red Bull Ring. He led Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc by 0.048s.

But the Friday qualifying session for the grand prix on Sunday was most notable for the number of lap times deleted for drivers exceeding track limits through the final two corners.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez failed to make Q3 for the fourth round in succession after he ran all four wheels wide of the painted white lines at Turn 9 and again at T10 late in Q2.

Polesitter Verstappen was also caught out in Q1 - he dropped from the top of the times to 17th when found guilty of straying over the painted lines on the exit of the final corner.

The succession of deleted lap times, Verstappen reckoned, made proceedings look “very silly” and as though the drivers were “amateurs”.

He said: “I think today looked very silly. It almost looked like we were amateurs out there, the amount lap times that were getting deleted. I don’t think it was a good look today.

“Of course people can say: 'Yeah then stay within the white lines'. Well if it was that easy then you can take my car and try it.”

In defence of the drivers, he added: “I don't think we're all idiots”.

Verstappen also said the zero-tolerance policy on track limits by the stewards had worked to take “out of the joy” as he was instead forced to focus on “surviving” in the Q3 battle.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, celebrates in Parc Ferme after securing pole

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, celebrates in Parc Ferme after securing pole

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Verstappen, who went on to blame the “big” and “heavy” cars, replied when asked if it was an easy session: “No, it was very difficult because of all the track limits. We don't do this on purpose. But with these speeds and these high-speed corners, it's so hard to judge the white line really.

“That's why you could see today a lot of people were getting caught out including myself.

“So honestly, it was about surviving even in Q3. The first half, you just want a banker lap. “[This] takes out the joy a little bit, but I think still we did a good enough lap.”

Verstappen reckoned that the drivers might have raised the issue in a meeting scheduled with the FIA for Friday evening. However, this has now been cancelled without a reason being offered in public.

He said: “We luckily got rid of the stupid yellow kerbs [to define track limits] because it was destroying our cars. It can be easily solved by just putting gravel next to the kerbs but the bikes don't want that.”

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