Max Verstappen admits he should have lifted following Valtteri Bottas’ Q3 qualifying crash yesterday but believes Lewis Hamilton also did not lift enough and should have received the same penalty as him.
Despite the FIA initially saying that there would be no further action taken following yesterday’s incident, Verstappen was later stripped of pole following comments he made in the post-qualifying press conference where he admitted he’d seen Bottas but had not slowed.
Speaking after the race, Verstappen conceded that his penalty was deserved but implied that ‘one silver car’ did not lift during the same incident [referring to Hamilton] and that he should not have been the only driver punished.
“Well, the rule is very clear. The only thing I want to say on it from my side, because there were a lot of comments about it, and looking back for sure, yeah I should have lifted but then everybody should do the same,” said Verstappen.
“I know Seb [Vettel] did, but one silver car didn’t then he doesn’t get a penalty and that annoys me as well. It is what it is, I cant decide for other drivers about the rules.”
With a three-place penalty dropping him to fourth, Verstappen believes the win would have still been possible had he not suffered damage through contact with both Mercedes cars in the race.
“The [win] was still on, even from fourth. We had a good car but of course with what happened on the first lap [with Hamilton] and then after with Valtteri [Bottas], it completely ruined the race,” said Verstappen.
“Lewis went around the outside of course in Turn 1 and then braked very deep into Turn 2 so I couldn’t stay there and I had to go off the track. With Valtteri, I went up the inside and when I was alongside him I guess he didn’t see me because he was already turning in and then he clipped me on my right rear.
“I had to do a whole lap with a puncture, and from there on I had to do a one-stop. It was a bad one-stop and was our only option to come back to sixth. It’s, of course, a shame not to finish higher up but considering what happened it was still ok.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing