Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2016

Verstappen: Loss of neutral caused Virtual Safety Car

2016 United States Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen has revealed an inability to get his car into neutral prompted the Virtual Safety Car period which disadvantaged his team mate.

Red Bull suffered a double blow when Verstappen’s retirement due to a gearbox problem triggered a Virtual Safety Car phase. This allowed Nico Rosberg to make a pit stop and come out ahead of the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo instead of falling behind it as he would otherwise have done.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit of the Americas, 2016
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Verstappen tried to tour back to pits after experiencing a gearbox problem but revealed he was told by the team to stop the car, only to discover the marshals couldn’t move it quickly as it had stuck in gear.

“The team told me to keep on going,” he told reporters after the race. “I said there is a serious issue and then at one point they decided ‘OK Max, stop the car over there’.”

“And then once I jumped out, well it was in neutral but the car suddenly got stuck and then you can press a button on the top but it apparently didn’t work. So that’s the Virtual Safety Car came out because otherwise you can just push the car into the gap.”

Verstappen had already compromised his race by coming into the pits when he hadn’t been told to, leading to a slow pit stop. He admitted the mistake had been his.

“They told me to push hard the lap before, I thought was an indication to box. So I drove in the pit lane and suddenly I realised they didn’t box me. So that was my fault,. not really clever. But in the end it didn’t make any difference to the end result.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 11 comments on “Verstappen: Loss of neutral caused Virtual Safety Car”

    1. Nope, Max. Your decision to continue halfway around the track, at some points dangerously crossing the racing line at a snail’s pace to do so, and then your subsequent decision to pull off but not roll your car through the access to get it off the circuit is what caused the VSC. The inability to get the car into neutral just made the VSC last longer.

      1. sometimes it is better to read the article first before commenting!

      2. Did you even read the article?

        1. Why bother doing that anymore?

          If it’s more than 140 characters, people can’t keep up anymore.

    2. He really showed his lack of experience today: driving at that low speed for two minutes, crossing the racing line, parking the car in the outside of a high speed turn -of all places-. He doesn’t understand how dangerous his blocking is and now this. Is like he is still judging situation as if he was driving go-karts. Shame on FIA too for allowing this whole situation to happen.

      1. What? He was communicating with the team the whole time trying to fix it and at some point they said park it and there is a marshall post right there, so if they could have rollend it, it would have been gone in a second. But the engine did is own thing. You are talking nonsense.

      2. Please read the article first… getting a bit tired of all those Verstappen bashers lately…

    3. For those too lazy to read the article, a tl;dr:

      Verstappen lost neutral in the car, so when he stopped it, it couldn’t be moved, it couldn’t be rolled back behind the railings. It didn’t matter whether he parked there or if he’d have parked on the back straight, they’ll have still needed to get the lifter truck out to pick his car up. The VSC would’ve happened wherever he left his car.

      1. Why didnt we hear instructions for Ves’s car reset or what not, but they released Ros’s communication full on last time around?

        1. +1 Something funny happened there.

    4. No, Max, you driving 40mph for half a lap cause the VSC!!!!

    Comments are closed.