"Odd" track limits error costs Verstappen Portugal F1 fastest lap point

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Verstappen finished second for Red Bull in the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday, losing ground on race winner and Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.

Late pitstops for Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas gave Verstappen a window to take a free stop and go for the fastest time with one lap remaining.

He was able to snatch the bonus point away from Bottas on the final lap, beating the Finn’s time by 0.016s with an effort of 1m19.849s.

But Verstappen’s joy was short-lived after race control reported that he had broken track limits at Turn 14, causing the time to be deleted.

Verstappen was not aware until the post-race interview in parc ferme, where Paul di Resta informed him the time had been deleted.

“Oh really? That’s a good one,” Verstappen said. “That is a bit odd, because they were not checking track limits at Turn 14, but whatever.”

Verstappen’s claim was incorrect. The updated race notes issued by Michael Masi on Saturday morning ahead of final practice at Portimao added Turn 14 to the corners being monitored for track limits.

“The track limits at the exit of Turn 14 are defined as when no part of the car remains in contact with the red and white kerb,” the updated race notes read.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, passes Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, passes Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“Drivers must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not leave the track without a justifiable reason.”

The loss of the bonus point meant Verstappen slipped to eight points behind Hamilton in the drivers’ championship after three races.

Verstappen was able to pass Hamilton for second place after an early safety car, only to slip behind the Mercedes driver four laps later.

The Red Bull driver managed to jump Bottas for second place after getting the undercut at the pitstops, taking advantage of his rival’s warm-up issues to make a pass at Turn 5.

“It was pretty, pretty decent,” Verstappen said in review of his race.

“I had a good restart and then of course I tried to put the pressure on Valtteri, but at the end, I think we just lacked a little bit of pace overall, so Lewis got by once again.

“After the pitstop, I think the warm-up is super hard on these tyres. But yeah, I think once we settled in second you could clearly see around here we were lacking a bit of pace compared to them.

“I think this was in general a bit of an odd weekend in terms of grip, and we were not on top of it here, but we’ll see again what we can do in Barcelona.”

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