‘It was a bit of a mess, but we survived everything’ - Verstappen

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‘It was a bit of a mess, but we survived everything’ - Verstappen

Formula 1

‘It was a bit of a mess, but we survived everything’ - Verstappen


Max Verstappen says he had to survive the Australian Grand Prix chaos but was unhappy about the way rules were applied to his battle with Lewis Hamilton early on.

George Russell got ahead of Verstappen at Turn 1 and Hamilton then followed his teammate through at Turn 3, with the Dutchman running slightly wide as the pair came close to contact. The stewards didn’t even note the incident as worthy of mention, but Verstappen believes he was entitled to more room.

“From my side I just tried to avoid the contact,” Verstappen said. “It’s quite clear in the rules what you are allowed to do now on the outside but clearly it’s not followed. But that’s OK. We had good pace — we passed him anyway — but it’s something for the next race just to take into account.”

Verstappen took the lead after the first red flag period saw Russell pit out of the lead, but then had to deal with a second restart with two laps to go after Kevin Magnussen hit the wall and left debris on track. That restart accounted for a number of drivers and caused a final red flag, something Verstappen wasn’t impressed with.

“We had a very poor start and then lap 1 I was careful because I had a lot to lose and they had a lot to win. After that I think the pace of the car was quick, you could see that straight away.

“We were always there waiting for the DRS to open up to have a chance to pass, but with these red flags I don’t know… The first one maybe you can do it, but I think that second one I don’t really understand.

“So it was a bit of a mess, but we survived everything; we had good pace in the car again today and we won, which of course is the most important.”

The one other moment of concern for Verstappen came when he ran wide at the penultimate corner late in the race, but he says he took the decision to limit the damage to his tires.

“I think I did the city a favor, I just cut the grass a bit more — they don’t need to do that anymore in that area! I locked up a bit and didn’t want to flat-spot the tire completely so ran a bit wide. We had a good margin.”