Verstappen to raise track limits issue with other drivers after ‘messy’ situation in Bahrain
Max Verstappen will raise the issue of track limits ahead of the Grand Prix at Imola after he was denied victory for going out of bounds battling Lewis Hamilton in the Bahrain season-opener.
Verstappen was forced to give his lead back to Hamilton late in the Bahrain GP as the Dutchman was deemed to have exceeded track limits when passing the Briton at Turn 4. Now in Imola for this weekend' Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the Red Bull driver said he was baffled as to why Hamilton didn’t get penalised for exceeding track limits at the same corner, and echoed his Team Principal Christian Horner's calls for consistency.
“Either you can go wide or not,” said Verstappen. “I can understand of course with my overtake outside of the track limits that’s not allowed, so that’s fine – you cannot gain an advantage by going wide, by overtaking – so why are you allowed to do it on your own?
“That’s what I think is not correct, so we’ll talk about that with the drivers and also with Michael [Masi, FIA Race Director] about it, but yeah we’ll see what comes out of it. I think it was a little bit messy in the race.
"I think everything before that was very strict and I think good, how we handled everything, but definitely in the race I mean, I think for 30 laps or something Lewis was going wide and you gain time there and then I tried it for two laps and then they told me not to, so it’s a bit odd.”
FIA Race Director Michael Masi maintained after the Bahrain Grand Prix that it was made “very clear” that any driver overtaking off track would have to give their place back, and “nothing changed at all” in regard to track limits during the first race. In Italy, Verstappen presented a more straightforward approach to the issue.
He said: “Well, you know things can be easily resolved if you just put a wall there, or gravel. It will help a lot because in qualifying we had to stay on the kerb so that’s also what I was doing in the race, and just to be clean. I heard Lewis was just going wide so then I did it for two laps, but then I was not allowed to do it anymore, so I don’t think you… should be able to change it in the race.”
For this weekend's race in Imola, the Race Director's notes stipulate that lap times "achieved during any practice session or the race" will be invalidated if a driver goes over track limits at the exit of Turn 9, the apex of Turn 13, or the exit of Turn 15.
The notes state that any driver contravening these rules three times during the race will be shown the black and white flag, with any further corner cutting reported to the stewards.