Red Bull Explain Why Verstappen Didn’t Set Fastest Lap At Imola

Sir Lewis Hamilton maintained the Championship lead by setting the fastest lap of the race at Imola.

Max Verstappen after winning at Imola in 2021 - Formula1news.co.uk

Senior Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has explained why Max Verstappen didn’t push harder to score an extra point by setting the fastest lap of the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Dutch ace’s Championship rival, Sir Lewis Hamilton, managed to claim the extra point, giving him a one-point lead over Verstappen in the Drivers’ Standings after round two of the season.

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Explaining why Verstappen didn’t try harder to set the fastest lap at Imola, Dr Marko said they were wary of pushing too hard, especially as Hamilton had DRS at his disposal towards the end of the race which helped him set the fastest lap of the grand prix.

“Hamilton had a DRS advantage of around four tenths on his [fastest] lap,” Dr Marko said.

“We didn’t want to risk anything and would rather celebrate a victory.”

Verstappen ultimately crossed the finish line in P1 with a comfortable margin over Hamilton, who was satisfied to recover to second after falling to P9 following a mistake while trying to lap the Williams of George Russell at the Tosa hairpin.

The seven-time World Champion benefitted from the race being red-flagged shortly after his adventure into the gravel trap, but he nevertheless had to pull off plenty of overtakes to finish just behind Verstappen and maintain the Championship lead by the narrowest of margins.

Speaking after the race, Hamilton owned up to his mistake and said he wasn’t sure if he would be able to make overtakes stick following the restart, as the track was still drying.

“I guess I was in a bit too much of a hurry to get by everyone,” Hamilton said.

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“I was a bit unfortunate. There was only one dry line. I came into the inside and I could see it was wet.

“I was trying to stop but the thing wouldn’t stop and it sent me off.

“I’m really, really grateful that we got to get going again, and to get some points for the team is really important today.

“I didn’t know whether or not we’ll be able to overtake, because again offline was going to be wet.

“You don’t have time to dwell on it, so that’s what I did – got back into racing spirit. We still had some really good fun battles with all the guys.”

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