Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2018

Backmarkers holding up Hamilton were “not fair” – Verstappen

2018 Singapore Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says the way Lewis Hamilton was held up by lapped traffic in the Singapore Grand Prix was “not fair”.

The Red Bull driver came close to passing Hamilton when the race leader was held up behind Romain Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin. However Verstappen said there wasn’t enough room to complete a pass.

“First of all I thought it was not fair anyway, the way he was being held up,” said Verstappen. “[And] even when I the opportunity at the next bend, you can’t overtake into turn 10. I didn’t want to take the risk.”

Verstappen was plagued by poor power delivery from his engine but said he was confident it wouldn’t break down. “I was pretty confident it would last, it was just really poor to drive,” says Verstappen.

“I got a false neutral behind the Safety Car, so I almost had to stop as it was not finding a gear. Then also behind the Safety Car it almost bogged down, because first gear doesn’t react. So I was going flat out with the brakes on to try and get RPM.

“Then at the pit stop, I had no idea what was going on. It was not that great. Throughout the race I couldn’t short shift, so I had to go all the time in really high revs. It’s not ideal, but we managed to finish second, so it’s good.”

Verstappen lost second in the early phase of the race when he was passed by Sebastian Vettel on the first lap. But he reclaimed the position after the single round of pit stops.

“It was a shame to lose the spot to Sebastian, but I mean we’re both going flat out so you can’t really do much there,” he says. “Just losing a lot of power – top speed – which you could see. Then the team gave me a great strategy, so very happy when I got out into second.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 22 comments on “Backmarkers holding up Hamilton were “not fair” – Verstappen”

    1. Quite right – some pretty shoddy driving towards the back in this Grand Prix. I’m not sure what was worse, Grosjean blatantly ignoring the blue flags, or Perez swiping into Sirotkin. Sirotkin himself was guilty of a few naughty moves after he’d been tagged by Perez.

      1. I’ve got to say the intentional hit was a lot worse than a dumb mistake no matter how bad the mistake was. If F1 wants to set an example, they should have given DQ’d him from the event and had him sit out a few races.

    2. Solid race from Max and Lewis. Maybe not the most exciting. The two best drivers of the current field imo.

      1. We didn’t see the guy, but based on finishing position and lap times Alonso had a great weekend as well.
        @mayrton

        1. Yes, I agree. Alonso stellar performance as well

      2. I can’t really judge Max in the race, he never really had much clear air (Vettel/Ferrari kinda shot themselves in the foot rather than Max setting fast in laps) and never tried to get Hamilton. Ric probably had as much if not more pace but track position is king so we never saw what he could do. Bottas on the other hand couldn’t even keep up with Hamilton who was clearly managing his pace. Bottas has clear air but couldn’t go faster, on newer tires. So from this perspective, Ham outperformed him teammate a lot more than Max.

        1. Not the case. VER was 45 laps out of 61 faster then RIC. Average 0,7 sec a lap faster !! Times 61 laps = 45 seconds !!)

        2. Max his engine was turned down because of his engine troubles and also he couldn’t short shift during the whole race and had to stay in high refs all the time which cost him a lot of laptime. In quali he gave a knock-out punch to Daniel .. more then 0,6 sec between them and that could even be more because Max had to aboard in final lap in the last sector due to torque issues! After the two first sectors he was 0,2 sec faster than his first run so the gap could have even been bigger!

        3. Ivan Vinitskyy, what are you on about….??

          Ham beat Bot by 0.701 in quali
          Ham was 45 laps faster than his team mate finishing 51 sec in front
          Ver beat Ric by 0.662 in quali
          Ver was 45 laps faster than his team mate finishing 45 sec in front

          They are as close as close can get, considering Verstappen huffing and puffing engine, he was lucky to drive a race

        4. Max had more pace then Ricciardo. That’s why he finished 45 seconds in front of his teammate and 31 seconds in front of Vettel.

          Lewis had the engine to pick up the pace…Max didn’t but e finished within 9 seconds anyway

    3. Ferrari should ditch their race strategist and get one from redbull.

      1. Maybe trade strategy for an engine

      2. And their media spokesperson, their post race “boring” comment was disgraceful, it looks like their sportsmanship has sunk as low as that of the tisofi.

        1. sorry I obviously meant “tifosi”

    4. Actually, it’s nice that Max realized that it was too risky to overtake there. He could have easily ruined his own race and Lewis’ race and championship and nearly leveled the points between Lewis and Vettel all in a momentary lapse of reason. Not to mention the impact on the WDC.

      He also had a completely clean start with Vettel which was very impressive from both drivers.

      1. Thoroughly impressed by his restraint, I had money on a DNF for him this race. Maybe he’s finally taking his past troubles to heart.

      2. He also had a completely clean start with Vettel which was very impressive from both drivers.

        Do not know if it’s impressive for their caliber, should be the norm not having accidents. But I’m glad too each one of them recognized their defeat in front of the other and did not push things into another accident.

    5. I entirely agree with him. It indeed wasn’t fair.

    6. Look out for a dodgy purple race car for sale on Craigslist. “Runs when parked. Minor misfire.”

    7. Wow, so touchy! When did VER became such a nice person?!?! Or not…

      He’s right, but these situations are not nice for anybody, backmarkers included. They had their own race and scrap, being destroyed by the leaders it’s not fair either. I think more fair play, a more neutral comment or simply refrain from doing any comments in these cases is the way to go, ’cause they never thank backmarkers when they “disappear” from the track to please the leaders. HAM/Mercedes forgot to thank FI at Monaco…..

      1. ….. and it wasn’t a backmarker!

    Comments are closed.