Max Verstappen admitted that being awarded a 5 place grid penalty at of the Qatar GP did not surprise him at all.
Verstappen put in a decent performance in Saturday’s qualifying and was set to start the race from P2. However, he was given a 5 place grid penalty before the race started. This happened after the the stewards investigated the Dutchman for ‘failing to slow down under double waved yellow flags’.
As a result, Verstappen had to start the race from 7th, but quickly moved up the grid to jump to 4th place at the end of turn 2. He ended up finishing 2nd behind title rival Lewis Hamilton.
🗣 “I tried everything I could after the five-place grid penalty so to finish in second and score the fastest lap is really good.” @Max33Verstappen on his #QatarGP podium 🏆🇶🇦 pic.twitter.com/6FLXvSgCVW
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) November 21, 2021
When asked about his grid penalty post race, Verstappen said he was not at all surprised by the outcome.
“I knew already last night that I never get presents from them the stewards. So it’s okay.” Verstappen said.
“Once I knew I was starting seventh, I was just very motivated to move ahead, and that’s exactly what we did. We had a good first lap and then after five laps we were second again.
Max Verstappen feels that Red Bull were too slow
Verstappen will be happy that he finished 2nd in spite of starting from P7. However, the pace of his Red Bull was not good enough to challenge the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. In the end, it was a pretty comfortable drive for the Briton.
“I just tried keep the gap small, which we did throughout the whole race, so they couldn’t do an extra stop. It gave me the fastest lap at the end, so I was definitely happy with that.” said Max.
And so it comes down to the last two races 🏆
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 21, 2021
“We were a little bit too slow. So of course, that means the race is going to be tricky as well,” he commented.
“But we just need to try and stay focused. There are two races to go and as you can see, a lot of things can happen, even in qualifying. So anything is possible.”
Hamilton winning in Qatar means that Verstappen’s lead is down to just 8 points. With two races to go in 2o21, Red Bull and Max have a lot of work on their hands to defend their slender lead at the summit.