Verstappen complains rivals “tried to squeeze me into the wall” in practice

Formula 1

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Max Verstappen criticised his rivals’ driving after overtaking a queue of cars in the pit lane exit during practice at Yas Marina.

The Red Bull driver missed the first practice session as his team gave his car over to test driver Jake Dennis in order to ensure compliance with F1’s rules. The second practice session was disrupted due to a pair of crashes for Carlos Sainz Jnr and Nico Hulkenberg.

That put track time at a premium and Verstappen was anxious to ensure he did not miss any. When the two Mercedes drivers slowed in front of Verstappen as they joined the track, the Red Bull driver squeezed past them as they passed through the tight, winding pit exit tunnel at the Yas Marina.

Verstappen complained his rivals weren’t driving quick enough and failed to leave room for him as they left the pits.

“They have to move,” he said. “They’re all driving slow and I want to go out because we are all limited on time but they just keep on driving in the middle.

“Then when I tried to pass they tried to squeeze me in the wall. So yeah, a bit silly.”

Isack Hadjar, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice in pictures
Having covered just 17 laps of running in practice on Friday, Verstappen said he’s still got “a lot to figure out for FP3 to be good in qualifying.” He ended today’s session almost two tenths of a second slower than pace-setter Charles Leclerc.

However Verstappen was more concerned about his car’s balance, telling his team during the session it was “bouncing like a kangaroo” in the final sector.

“The balance was very off,” said Verstappen after practice. “A lot of understeer, a lot of jumping so definitely a few things to figure out for tomorrow.”

“I didn’t expect it to be so far off so that’s also a bit of a question mark for us,” he added. “I mean, we’re still P3, it’s not too bad, but balance-wise I think it can be a lot better. So we’ll try to have a look what happened there.”

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Keith Collantine
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27 comments on “Verstappen complains rivals “tried to squeeze me into the wall” in practice”

  1. If you want to drive slowly out of the pits, then just move over and let a guy overtake. There was no reason to block him here, so yeah, it did look a bit silly. Especially given the “drive left if you want to go slowly in the pits” rule was only just introduced a few races ago.

    1. 3 cars in a row at pit exit, and some spoiled beat driving off track to overtake. stupidity at its best

      1. The stupidity is with the FIA, changing rules again and again, now legalising overtaking in the pit lane a few races ago

        1. I seriously don’t know what they were thinking when they said its fine now, one day it will end in tears

    2. @sjaakfoo the race directors notes for this particular race does not actually say that drivers should “drive left if you want to go slowly in the pits”.

    3. From the small clip in the highlights, it seems they were all just making a bit of a gap.

      What is he going to lose by staying behind them at that point?

      Ten seconds at most? Pick your battles, as the saying goes.

  2. As much as I admire Max as a driver and competitor, his arrogance frequently tips into the realm of entitlement that he feels he’s above everyone else. Remember he was the one blocking everyone coming out the pits in Brazil. Calm down, Max.

    1. Wasn’t that blocking (by him, Russell and Alonso if I’m correct) not based on the minimum lap time rule set for qualy?

    2. Like Ruben is already pointing out: Max and others sitting still in the pit lane was at a moment this was not against the rules. As it now is not against the rules to pass slow cars in the pit lane, up until the safetycarline. I do get your point about the arrogance – but he is not wrong

      1. You’re right, he’s not wrong technically in what he did, but it was overly aggressive and a bit rich to complain about it, imho. He wasn’t really squeezed, they just made it difficult for him.

        1. Indeed, it was hardly Schumacher pushing Barrichello into the pit wall!

    3. @shakenbake
      Can you give some examples of his arrogance? Honest question, because especially Verstappen seems like one of the least arrogant on the grid to me?

  3. karma will strike

    1. i think it did straight away didn’t it? Lewis and George both let him push past then somehow on track George got back past, Max’s first lap was all in traffic and hopeless while Lewis was well back and had a clear one.

      But anyway it’s 100% obvious they could have pushed him into the wall if they’d wanted, they were a little more grown up tho and less stupidly self centred. But this is Max, how makes himself hard to like

  4. Yes Marina is the only circuit where the pit lane goes underneath the track and that too narrow and not in a straight line. It seemed like taking a big risk overtaking in the pit lane here.

    1. Except that section isn’t technically a pit lane part anymore, as the fast lane ending point is where the pit lane ends on all circuits.

  5. Overtaking in the pits is against the regulations, however, since the regulations state that a constant speed is necessary. If a car is overtaking, then it is not going at a constant speed.

    1. Except he didn’t overtaking in the pit lane as the fast lane ends before the elevation drop & overtaking is permitted beyond the fast lane ending point.
      Yas Marina Circuit just happens to have a long-ish exit route like Interlagos.

  6. These pit lane shenanigans got old already. Every single race there’s something new.

  7. Pit lane or Pit exit (explicitly stated so Jere doesn’t shout me down) it’s all stupid. Overtaking in the tunnel here shouldn’t be allowed. Imagine a crash, even at low speed down there and the disruption of trying to extract cars that have locked wheels. It would be an absolute embarrassment.
    Let’s hope it happens in Q3!

    1. I wasn’t going to anyway, but I see your point, considering the realistic unintended consequences.

    2. i’m sure I remember drivers expressing concerns when they frist went to Yas Marina some ten years ago, that the unusual tunnel exit would be a problem if anyone broke down or crashed in there. Fortunately it has never happened in a race, at least I don’t think it has, but it still sounds foolhardy to be overtaking in there.I haven’t seen the clip so I don’t know how slow they were going, but I can’t imagine an extra ten seconds would have made that much difference.

  8. slightly ironic.

  9. 1. It was practice and not qualifying.
    2. Last week Max called a fellow driver an idiot for wanting to pass a slow driving Max in order to meet the lap time requirement. Today it was Max wanting to drive faster and now the idiots are the ones driving slowly.\
    3. Max is a complete idiot because the last thing the Mercedes team wants to do this weekend is clash with Max or anyone else. They need to beat the Ferraris.

  10. Seems like they were trying to block him. Not squeeze him into the wall. I think there needs to just be a rule that it doesn’t matter what kind of speed is optimal for your tire prep, you cannot be more than 20 seconds slower than an average lap time from the race the year before (obviously this would be conditions permitting as well as not using times for a gp race in only wet conditions). If it’s not perfect for the tires so be it everyone will be in the same boat. Yes I know some cars like a super duper slow prep lap but too bad.

  11. He is just a hard racer and wants to get everything out of the car. If there is little time and he is testing a different tire strategy than he is in a hurry to test with only 25 min to go. All in line with the rules so whats there not to like at someone doing it’s utmost. You should applaud that not putting him down.

  12. Seems very arrogant to do that.

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