Verstappen laughs off Red Bull track limits warnings
By Ian Parkes
Monday 5th June, 2023 - 10:04am
Max Verstappen has laughed off the warnings he received from Red Bull after being shown a black-and-white flag during the Spanish Grand Prix.
Verstappen cruised to a third successive victory of the season, his fifth of the year and 40th of his F1 career to open up a 53-point gap over team-mate Sergio Perez in the drivers’ standings.
The only blemish on what was the third grand slam in F1 for Verstappen of pole, fastest lap, leading every lap, and race win, was three warnings he received for track limits violations.
Verstappen was gently cautioned by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase after the second of those. Following the third, and with the black-and-white-flag being shown, Lambiase reminded his driver of the fact he had an 18-second lead over Lewis Hamilton and there were “no risks required”.
A further violation would have resulted in a five-second penalty.
The Dutchman, however, had other ideas. On lap 61, Verstappen grabbed the point for the fastest lap, prompting Lambiase to quip over the radio “now can you bring it home between the white lines”.
Addressing the matter, Verstappen said: “I went over the white line three times. It happens sometimes.
“At some tracks, it’s a bit easier to do and I was struggling a little bit with the harder tyres to keep it within the white lines.
“But once I had that last warning then I had to keep it within the white lines. But it’s not an issue really.”
As to whether he had been told off by the team for ignoring Lambiase’s instructions, he added: “Well, I kept it within the white lines, I just went a bit faster on the lap. So I didn’t do anything wrong.
“They don’t know how much pace I have in the car, right, when they tell me this is the fastest lap, don’t bother. But I knew that I could do it. I just had to keep it within the white lines.
“This is something I think we can laugh about. I was laughing about it with Helmut (Marko) after the race so I’m pretty sure that they’re quite happy.”
From pole position, Verstappen controlled the race from the beginning, despite starting on new medium tyres when the nine drivers behind him were all on used softs.
After negotiating the hard part of the long run down to Turn 1 and through the opening corner, keeping Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz at bay, Verstappen was rarely troubled beyond that en route to taking another step towards a third successive drivers’ title.
Reflecting on his race, Verstappen said: “It was important to try and keep the lead into turn one. I know it’s quite tight.
“But actually, we had a very good start, and from there onwards, I just tried to manage the pace on the medium.
“I knew everyone behind me was mainly on the soft, and especially the last eight laps of that stint, I could create a big gap.
“Then we went on to the hard tyre, and I expected them to be a little bit better, but they just didn’t have a lot of grip. I was sliding around quite a bit.
“The pace was still okay, but I couldn’t really create much more of a gap, not how I would have liked.
“We just did the amount of laps we had to do on that tyre and then we pitted again for the soft and that actually felt a lot nicer to drive.”