Red Bull’s Helmut Marko isn’t happy after Max Verstappen was stripped of a point late in the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko has hit out at the continuing drama in Formula One over track limits, after Max Verstappen was stripped of the fastest lap in this morning’s (AEST) Portuguese Grand Prix.
Verstappen stopped for fresh tyres late in the race and set the fastest time of the race on the final lap, only for the time to be deleted after it was deemed he exceeded the track limits at Turn 14.
Fastest lap comes with one world championship point, which could prove crucial in what’s shaping as a tight battle between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the front of the field.
Hamilton currently leads the Red Bull driver by eight points after three of the scheduled 23 rounds.
Verstappen was surprised when told after the race his lap time had been deleted, wrongly suggesting that Turn 14 wasn’t being monitored.
“Really? That’s a good one,” he said. “That is a bit odd, because they were not checking track limits at Turn 14, but whatever.”
Track limits have become something of a farce in Formula One in recent years, with drivers routinely using the tarmac beyond the white line that defines the edge of the track. More than 80 lap times were deleted during the three practice sessions ahead of the race in Portugal.
‘Old school’ circuits have grass or gravel up to the edge of the track, however the modern trend is for tarmac run-off areas which don’t punish a driver who exceeds the limits.
Verstappen lost pole position on Saturday after his fastest time in qualifying was deleted, again for track limits, while what would have been the race-winning pass in Bahrain had to be handed back, again because Verstappen crossed the white line in making the move.
“Now we’ve lost the victory (in Bahrain), fastest lap and pole position,” Marko told Sky Sports Germany after the race.
“All good things come in threes. I hope that’s the end of it.
“Something has to change. Either you make a boundary with kerbs or you make gravel or something. If you go out, there’s an automatic penalty.”
Marko was particularly aggrieved that the team’s other driver, Sergio Perez, lost a place early in the race to McLaren’s Lando Norris, who wasn’t penalised for leaving the track when making the pass.
“Norris overtook Perez, went over with all four wheels, and there were no consequences. It’s not consistent, and that’s not racing when you juggle the rules like that,” Marko complained.
According to Perez, Norris should have been asked to cede the position.
“I looked at my mirrors and I thought Lando was totally off the track limits,” Perez said.
“I didn’t fight the position hard enough, thinking that he was going to give me back the place, but I probably misjudged that one.
“It took me a couple of laps to get past Lando and that created a gap to the leaders, I was basically out of the race by then.”
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