Max Verstappen has revealed that as of Saturday, he already assumed he would be penalized for not respecting double yellow flags during qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver admitted that the five-seat penalty only gave him the motivation he needed to break into second place again.
The Dutchman knew after qualifying on the Losail track that he would be summoned for questioning by the FIA for disrespecting the double yellow flags caused by Pierre Gasly at the end of the third qualifying session.
Upon learning that he was under investigation, Verstappen did not say anything in the media but assured that he knew that he would eventually receive a penalty. "I'm not surprised, I already knew last night (Saturday).
Stewards never give presents, nothing happens, ”says the Red Bull driver. The penalty was five places of backward movement so that he fell from the second to the seventh position. However, the Dutch driver assured that the penalty only motivated him further, and so it was: a few laps after the start he was already in second place again.
"In the end, after I found out that I would start from the seventh position, I was very motivated to break through the positions, and that is exactly what I did. I had a good start and five laps later I was second again, "he added.
For the rest of the race, it was hard for him to get close to Lewis Hamilton, who dominated from start to finish. But what they managed to do was that he had enough advantage on a ‘free’ stop that allowed him to set the fastest lap and get to the bonus points.
“I tried to reduce the backlog, something I did throughout the race so they didn’t (Mercedes) have a free stop, and that gave me the fastest lap in the end. So I'm very happy with that, "he said. The Dutch driver has an eight-point advantage over the seven-time champion but is aware that anything can happen in the two races left until the end of the season (Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi).
"We have to stay focused. There are two races left, and as we have seen, a lot can change, even in the standings. So anything is possible, ”said Max Verstappen. The Dutchman will not give up and it is obvious that the title is the most important thing for him. The race will be exciting until the very end