Max Verstappen’s aggressive driving on Friday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has resulted in race director Niels Wittich enforcing a new rule, regarding the pit-lane.
Verstappen only drove in Free Practice 2 on Friday after Formula E World Champion Jake Dennis completed Free Practice 1 in the Dutchman’s car, in order for Red Bull to meet the mandatory two rookie sessions.
As a result, Verstappen was eager to gather as much data as possible in FP2, something which was made difficult following two red flags.
The first red flag was flown after Carlos Sainz crashed heavily on the outside of the very fast Turn 3, whilst the second was flown after Nico Hulkenberg span at the first corner and hit the wall.
Hulkenberg’s accident occurred on his first push lap following the red flag for Sainz’s crash, with the drivers having been eager to get going again.
When the green flag was waved once Hulkenberg’s Haas had been recovered, a queue quickly formed in the pit-lane.
Drivers waited patiently so that they could get a clean run out of the pits; however, Verstappen wasn’t in the mood for waiting.
As Lewis Hamilton and George Russell entered the famous pit exit tunnel at the Yas Marina Circuit, Verstappen decided to try and overtake them, where he then brushed the pit wall.
Russell was quick to complain about Verstappen’s erratic driving, which appeared completely unnecessary, as he then fell behind Russell on his out-lap.
The three-time World Champion tried to defend his antics after the session, where he insisted that what the Mercedes drivers did was a “bit silly.
“They have to move!” Verstappen insisted to the media, as reported by The Express.
“They are all driving slow and I want to go out because we are all limited on time and they just keep on driving in the middle. Then I went to pass, they try to squeeze me in the wall. So a bit silly.”
Given how dangerous the incident could’ve been, Wittich has since banned overtaking in the underpass, “unless” a car has a problem in the tunnel.
“Overtaking is prohibited in the pit exit road unless a car slows with an obvious problem,” Wittich confirmed on Saturday.