Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo do Algarve, 2021

Verstappen fumes at Norris and Vettel as traffic and track limits end his pole hopes

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen fumed at his rivals after missing out on a clear chance to take pole position for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver’s first lap time would have been quick enough for pole position but was deleted as he exceeded track limits at turn four.

“All qualifying it was very difficult to drive,” he explained. “I was struggling a lot with the grip. That first lap in Q3 was decent but I just had a big moment in four so I went a little bit off-track.”

While the Mercedes drivers switched to the harder medium tyres for their final runs, Verstappen was confident he could beat them to pole position. However he encountered traffic in the second half of his final lap, passing Lando Norris and Sebastian Vettel, which left him furious on the radio (below).

“I was confident that I could do another good lap but in the last sector the car in front in the last two corners just disturbs you,” he said. “Especially with the low grip we already have and the tough wind out there it basically cost me a lot of lap time but it’s what it is.”

Verstappen will start tomorrow’s race from third on the grid behind the two Mercedes drivers.

“It’s of course not ideal, but we’ll try to fight them tomorrow in the race, see what we can do,” he said. “Hopefully, everything stabilises a bit more because up until now it’s not been a lot of fun to drive here.”

Verstappen’s radio after his final lap

Verstappen told race engineer Gianpiere Lambiase how traffic spoiled his final run in qualifying:

Verstappen:Yeah, mate, fucking hell.
Lambiase:Norris behind, timed lap.
Verstappen:Unbelievable. No time for another one, right?
Lambiase:So Mercedes 18.5 and 18.6 on their mediums, second run, so went slower than the soft tyre. And that’s P3.
Verstappen:Fuck’s sake. Why do these guys not move? I’m in a fast lap. Fucking dickheads.

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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58 comments on “Verstappen fumes at Norris and Vettel as traffic and track limits end his pole hopes”

  1. Verstappen back to his usual abrasive attitude.

    1. He is starting to show cracks under pressure of having championship winning car and expectations that come with it.

    2. Cracking already?? Is he up to a season long battle like this???
      Of course I joke but these daft comments would be flying if it was A Nother driver doing these things!!
      Mistakes happen Max. Learn from it, move one. No big deal to be 3rd. Might even be beneficial with the double tow.

    3. @inininin Yes it’s really quite unpleasant.. They were not really that in the way. Although Vettel’s trick of slotting in behind at the end of the last corner for a tow feels like a disturbance, it’s not as it’s just flat anyway.

    4. Lets calm down, shall we? This was a radio communication. It’s not like he blasted them to the media despite the headline making it seem so. He should be able to vent his frustrations, even if inaccurate, internally without being called out. And I’m saying this as a person who is not a big fan of Max’s character and especially dislike his dad, but he sure is exciting to watch.

  2. Lol these radio transmissions are pure gold!

    1. Absolutely.

  3. Error by pitwall. I already noticed it in pitlane at start of his outlap. They released Max right behind Norris. Norris kept just enough pace in his outlap for Max to not overtake him. Max decided to leave a gap but that would have impacted his tyre warmup.
    As Norris was doing another tracklap before his fastlap & overtook vettel in that tracklap, Max ran into them.

    Not bad luck, but bad tactics by pitwall

    1. Still Merc should have been on pole by a bigger margin. Lewis made mistakes in his runs in Q3.
      But unfortunately Max couldn’t benefit from these mistakes by fault of his own in the first run.

    2. Yeah, I was wondering about that, thanks for looking at it more in detail @trib4udi

  4. Verstappen was nowhere near Bottas’ pole time even before he ran into Norris and Vettel.

    Just projecting his frustrations onto others, I guess.

    1. Verstappen had a 1:18.2 with a mistake, when he lost the rear at Turn 4, gone off and got that time deleted. Bottas’ time is 1:18.3.
      Just didn’t watch the qualy I guess.

      1. Wind picked up for the second Q3 runs, probably that’s why almost everyone was slower than on the first run.

        1. Looked like a strong headwind.. Strong enough for Max to think it was a power unit issue

      2. Tim, it appears that the lap that Proesterchen is talking about is Verstappen’s second attempt, and he is making the point that the sector times that Verstappen was setting on that second attempt were already slower than Bottas’s pole time (and, by extension, Verstappen’s first flying lap) even before he encountered either of those drivers.

        1. +1 Thanks, that was indeed my point!

          1. Max was marginally yellow in both sectors , cumulative less than 0.2s from his 1:18.20 and would have been very close to Bottas poletime.

            Also his tyre warmup was impacted by Norris (read above)
            Anyway, it is what it is and Lewis also left much time on the table.

          2. Could have? Would have? Should have? He made an error… no big deal. It happens.

      3. So now you take into consideration the unfair advantage too?? VER obviously gained an unfair advantage by going off-track. If we throw away the rules and consider all the lap times, then Mazepin could have cut an entire corner and take PP!!!

        1. @mg1982 Not a given that every single individual off-track excursion leads to an advantage. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. The system, of course, doesn’t recognize this thing, so invalidation happens automatically regardless.

    2. But his deleted lap was quicker than both Mercs, so there’s no doubt he could and should have been on pole. His anger should be directed at himself and his team.

      Both Red Bulls having issues at the T3/T4 part of the track.

      1. This^^^ 100%! Bravo sir.

      2. As multiple drivers stated every car in front is a big disadvantage. Traffic ruined his only chance and you can not expect a F1 driver to be happy about that.

        1. Davethechicken
          1st May 2021, 18:40

          Same rules and conditions for everyone. Max didn’t have to follow Norris so closely in the warm up lap. Was his decision.

          1. He did not followed him, he was on a fast lap!

      3. @scbriml No, Hamilton was the fastest in qualifying with a 17.9 in Q2, so there’s no doubt he could and should have been on pole, but he messed up. He even had a clear track to do it on.

        1. Q2 times don’t matter, in fact better to be slower (but still be in top ten) so you take least out of the tyres you’ll start the race with.

          9/10 drivers were slower in Q3 than Q2. Conditions and wind stopped any improvement. Except that Verstappen was clearly faster on the soft tyres, as his deleted lap showed.

          1. @scbriml You deliberately ignore that Mercedes was faster in both Q2 and Q3, and try to make out that an illegal lap can be perfectly compared to a legal one, as if a Mercedes illegal lap wouldn’t have been any faster, all to spin the tale that Red Bull was faster. I wonder why?

  5. Iunno Max, maybe keep it between the mustard and the mayo next time? Then the traffic wouldn’t matter.

  6. Roses are Red, Violet are Blue, Red Bull Honda Fastest, Mercedes 1-2

    1. That pretty much sums up the season

  7. Don’t muck up your first lap then.
    Pretty disgraceful what he’s calling his fellow drivers. I presume had Hamilton said something like this, Rodber for one would have been very forgiving :)

    1. John, John, John! Come now! You know Lewis is held to completely different standards to the rest of the field! Wash your mouth out! 😉

  8. While the Mercedes drivers switched to the harder medium tyres for their final runs, Verstappen was confident he could beat them to pole position.

    But why? His deleted time was faster than the eventual pole time, but the Mercedes could go much faster, as they demonstrated in Q2. For some reason they couldn’t even get close to their Q2 times in their final try on the apparently quicker yellow tire. Verstappen was lucky to get this close.

    1. Indeed. Both Merc drivers had very suboptimal laps themselves.
      Lewis will be gutted that he made these mistakes but glad he is still ahead of Max.

    2. Only Bottas was faster in Q3 than Q2. Everyone else was slower. Only conclusion can be that track conditions and wind were at their most optimal during Q2. I think that everyone that got two runs in Q3 was slower on the second run.

      Mercedes also tried the mediums in Q3 last year at this track. For some reason, the delta between soft and medium for Mercedes at this track is almost nothing.

  9. P3 is a better starting position than P2…look at the 2020 start

  10. Verstappen’s deleted time felt like a joke. He clearly corrected the car at T4, and what really put his lap on top was his 3rd sector. It was a brilliant lap.

    1. He was off track…no joke!

    2. While he had no advantage the system automatically deleted the run. As it should. Track limits are there and should never be ignored.
      In this case there was no advantage but that does not matter.

      1. @erikje – I get it, but don’t feel like it is fair. He did not gain any advantage, he actually drove his butt off to compensate, something I believe we fans usually want to see. That is something stewards should verify and reinstate, if in order.

        1. Davethechicken
          1st May 2021, 18:42

          You want special rules for one driver then?

          1. Oh my, a troll! How exotic.

          2. @niefer the thing is, what you are now asking for does come across as you wanting a selective application of the rules given you have previously argued that drivers should be penalised for exceeding the track limits even in accidental circumstances.

            If you want that strict application, then you have to accept that it will result in a driver you might like being penalised for it. Alternatively, if you want discretion, would you be prepared to apply the same standard to other drivers then, even if it meant that a driver you disliked benefited from that same rule?

          3. Say, anon, when did I made it clear that I like Verstappen?
            Or that any driver should get selective treatment, for that matter?
            All I said was if the limit was unequivocally crossed due to force majeure, i.e. not for advantage gaining, the time deleted should get the chance to be reviewed. Nothing more, nothing less.

        2. Well, Montecarlo doesn’t need track limits to be enforced…
          They could just stick a wall at one car width distance from the line… et voila’! Car crashed in Q3, worse than a deleted time. I guess drivers would be more careful next time. This (luckily) doesn’t happen for safety reasons, and some drivers are trying to take advantage of that blaming the ‘rules’. I hope you got the point….

          1. @schivo69 – If it was up to me, there practically wouldn’t exist any run-off area. Drivers do deserve to be punished from mistakes. But if he manages to overcome that with a killer lap, he’s earned it.

            Though, you must note every single person working at F1 always try to take advantage “blaming” the rules, either by complaining or bending. ;)

        3. It gets subjective if we have to observe each driver’s reactions & hand actions for every cutting corner incident. And also time consuming.

          Current rules of deleting laps as soon as track limits are overshot are fair, simple to understand and quickly implement. No need to change.

          1. Actually, corner-cutting is something else, yet they do check if there was advantage or not before awarding a penalty.

            If it is time consuming, maybe each team should get a handful of challenges to use it accordingly, for situations like this. Though I’d say it is only fair to cope with the monster they have created themselves.

        4. @niefer but then you’d be judging the people that had to correct a slide against the people taht actually went off track to gain laptime. I agree it’s a pain, but not deleting the laptime would also have been wrong.

          1. I don’t know, @fer-no65, I guess I just think this whole thing has gone too far. I don’t really mind going off track unless it is clearly a corner cutting.

        5. Davethechicken
          1st May 2021, 20:01

          Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. Mark Twain.

          1. Seems about right. Have fun back in the pigsty!

  11. Good, some aggressive stand I expect from a top athlete striving for perfection. If drivers dont have this attitude (which doesn’t mean I think he should say it out loud) I’d rather not see them in a race at all. Winning starts by really wanting it.

  12. Oh no. An F1 driver cursed on the radio. Let’s all freak out about it. Big deal.

  13. Cracking under pressure? Perhaps.
    Also, unnecessary complaint. ALL drivers were concerned about screwing laps from other racers because of up and downs of the circuit, so it was difficult to see who was coming from behind. Lando did the best to get out of the way, but the timing was bad and there was nowhere to go. My opinion, VER fault for not being on pole, since he had his lap deleted for track limits.

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