Drivers led to Max Verstappen ban

Max Verstappen almost caused an accident in the pit-lane during FP2 on Friday at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft revealed on Saturday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that several drivers complained about Max Verstappen, following the Dutchman’s questionable antics in Free Practice 2.

Verstappen infuriated several drivers in the closing stages of FP2, following the end of a second red flag.

The second practice session of the weekend was initially stopped after Carlos Sainz crashed heavily, before it was then halted not long after it had resumed due to Nico Hulkenberg crashing at the first corner.

With Verstappen having sat out Free Practice 1 so that Red Bull could field two rookie drivers, the 26-year-old was desperate to get back out onto the Yas Marina Circuit.

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He was arguably too eager, though, as he overtook both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in the pit-exit tunnel.

There was barely enough room to get past, with him having brushed the wall of the underpass as a result.

His actions infuriated his opponents, who complained to race director Niels Wittich.

As a result, Wittich announced ahead of FP3 that overtaking in the underpass would be banned from then on, unless a car has a problem in the tunnel.

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Croft revealed that the drivers complained to Wittich about Verstappen, which is why a rule change was introduced mid-weekend.

“At the driver’s meeting last night, I’m told the drivers said to the race director Niels Wittich, no this can’t happen, we don’t like this, this is going to cause a bit of an accident,” Croft told Sky Sports F1 viewers at the start of Free Practice 3.

“Which is why Niels Wittich has now said, yeah, qualifying, you can’t overtake in that pit lane exit.

“Why he hasn’t done it for practice Niels Wittich knows, I don’t.”

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The rule change ultimately had no impact on Verstappen’s performance on Saturday, as he stormed to yet another pole position.

He’ll start from the best position to try and claim a record-breaking 19th win of 2023, in what would be the perfect way to end what’s been a dominant season for him.

Given that he’s won the last three races in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen is the clear favourite on Sunday.