Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

“I was trying to be nice”: Verstappen unhappy with Vettel’s qualifying tactics

2019 Chinese Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen criticised Sebastian Vettel’s track manners at the end of qualifying, accusing the Ferrari driver of costing him a chance to set a time at the end of Q3.

The Red Bull driver did not reach the start/finish line in time to begin his final run after he was overtaken by Vettel at the final corner and backed off to find space to do a lap.

“I was trying to follow the Ferrari in front of me and trying to be nice,” said Verstappen. “I could also have overtaken him but it’s just not what you do in qualifying.

“This time it caught me out so of course I’m not happy about that but it will swing around and it will come back to others as we sometimes. It’s annoying because we could have fought for third today. Now we just have to do some more overtaking.”

After Verstappen backed off he also held up team mate Pierre Gasly, who was unable to set a lap time as a result. The stewards have not indicated the incident is under investigation.

Vettel faced similar criticism after qualifying in Bahrain when he overtook Romain Grosjean as the Haas driver was preparing to start a lap. As a result Grosjean held up Lando Norris, who also blamed the Ferrari driver.

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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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20 comments on ““I was trying to be nice”: Verstappen unhappy with Vettel’s qualifying tactics”

  1. ”It’s annoying because we could have fought for third today.”
    – I have my doubts about that. In any case, I feel P5 and P6 were the highest positions in qualifying for RBR pace-wise.

    1. They have fought, on the out lap and Vettel won.

  2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    13th April 2019, 8:57

    I do not blame Vettel for this at all. Verstappen was told that he must go for it, but he hung back. There were several drivers behind him which had even less time. If they were stuck behind a driver going slowly, then they need to get past, which Vettel did.

    1. But Verstappen was only a couple meters behind Leclerc when Vettel passed him .. so he couldn’t go anywhere or should he have overtaken Leclerc? Never thought that Max would be the Guy to be that nice in that situation. That whole train of cars were too late out of the box anyway!

    2. Agreed. It is Max the one to blame for going slow, potentially leaving cars behind out of qualy, including his teammate. Either he was not aware of the time or thought he was the only driver in the track.

  3. If you go THAT slow, that the team comes on the radio and TELLS you “to have a go NOW”, it’s your OWN fault. Own up for once.

    Also ironic, coming from the dirtiest driver on the grid.

  4. I love the irony in this! Verstappen complaints about another driver breaking a gentlemen’s agreement? Hahahaha.
    And then he went on to remark that he’ll remember this. So I expect a revenge action.

    1. Jan-Marten Spit
      13th April 2019, 11:23

      And rightly so. Vettel needs a lesson because it is rhe second gp in a row that he ruins other drivers lsos because he leaves the pits too late. It will come round to him.

      1. Shall we count the times max ruined other drivers gp’s? Which are hugely more important than qualifications, BTW. This is just een koekje van z’n eigen deeg, as the dutch say. Max gets treated like max treated others and oh no… Here come the waterworks 😂

  5. This just fuels max for tomorrow

    And Ferrari can expect to get annoyed in qualy this season

    But the is of course some irony in it that Vettel is putting bad sportsmanship against Max after complaining the other way around

    And since it was not max that did the overtake in the last corner, the rules will probably not be changed

    1. charlie (@dorisrcharlie)
      13th April 2019, 11:29

      You seem to have no idea what ‘irony’ means. The ‘joke’ is on max.

      What rules have been changed because of overtaking done by max?

    2. “Fueling” Max meaning he’s going to do something stupid and crash someone out of the race.
      Hopefully it’s himself.

  6. So, I do think the answer should have been ‘so I rushed Leclerc in order to make it, and thus he sped up and stopped being the issue’, or something like that. … or even ‘next time, we will have to make sure we do not cut it so close and get mired in traffic like today’. But, I guess spite and revenge suit him better in the presser (I hope internally he drops that though).

  7. Surprised to see people blaming Max for going out too late but absolving Seb of any blame on that front. Half of those cars went out too late, and this is the 2nd race in a row where Seb has broken the gentleman’s agreement of not overtaking as people are backing up for the last corner. It’s inevitable that there will be payback if it continues – not just from Max, because after Bahrain I’m sure Lando and Romain are wondering what the point of being nice is too.

    Hopefully it will be sorted at the drivers’ briefing rather than on the track, though I would like to hear that discussion.

    1. Vettel clearly did leave enough time as he started his lap before the chequered flag fell. It’s not his fault other people were messing around and risking people not being able to start a lap.

      1. Well by that reckoning Max wasn’t too late either, being in front of Seb.

  8. I admire Max’s talents but he is in NO position to accuse other drivers of bad sportsmanship or of not playing fair.

    If your’e going to play rough Max then don’t cry when it comes back at you.

    1. Jan-Marten Spit
      13th April 2019, 12:13

      He accused Vettel of bad sportsmanship just now. So clearly he is in a position to do that.

      I understand that you think that everyone except Max is allowed to criticize others for bad sportsmanship.

      Lets create the Vettel rule – no overtaking in the final sector when drivers prepare for a hotlap in Q3. If Max would be the first to break it, than you are in a position to criticize Max.

  9. 5-place grid-drop for Verstappen for impeding Gasly…..hahahahaha

  10. 12 minutes to set two fast laps. If your team can’t work out how to achieve that, it’s not really anyone else’s problem.

Comments are closed.