Verstappen explains decision for overtaking at F1 pitlane during Abu Dhabi practice

Published on 24 November 2023 at 20:00

Max Verstappen explains that slow-moving drivers were to blame for getting in his way - resulting in the Red Bull driver overtaking them in the pitlane during Formula 1's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


The 2023 world champion barged his way past other drivers in the narrow pitlane exit during FP2 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


The Dutchman went as far as overtaking both Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in the tunnel, leaving hardly any room for error, which could have easily resulted in a collision.


Verstappen was not done there, however. The 26-year-old also tried to get past Alpine's Pierre Gasly at the end of the pitlane exit.


It is not the first time that the Red Bull driver has been seen impatient with other drivers in the pitlane. The Dutch driver also did it at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix - even flying past his teammate Sergio Perez.


Formula 1 Sky commentator David Croft made the point of Verstappen being hypocritical. During the Singapore Grand Prix, the Dutchman held several cars at the end of the pitlane, which the stewards acknowledged that it was a mistake not giving him a penalty.


Drivers moving too slowly


It appeared that Verstappen was being extremely impatient. FP2 did not run smoothly with two red flags being brought out for crashes from Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg.


However, the three-time world champion blamed the pace at which drivers were moving. The Dutchman felt it was wasting valuable time of the session. He missed FP1 due to Red Bull giving Formula E champion Jake Dennis a run out.


Verstappen was not afraid of blaming the other drivers for moving too slowly. The Red Bull driver said:


"I mean, they have to move. They are all driving slow, and I want to go out because we are limited on time, and 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."


RB19 didn't feel great


Throughout the season, the RB19 and Verstappen has always come into fruition. However, the Dutchman felt that the balance was off as he finished FP2 in third.


"From our side, the balance is very off," he said. "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, and also that is a bit of a question mark for us.


"I mean, we are still P3, it's not too bad, but balance-wise I think it can be a lot better. So, we will try and have a look what happened there."


The three-time world champion finished behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and McLaren's Lando Norris. He found himself 0.175 seconds off the Monegasque's time at the top.


With Ferrari and McLaren looking quick, it could set up an exciting finale race - multiple teams having the chance of a race win.


Nathan Hartley

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