‘Max lost a win, fastest lap and pole to track limits’

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen Red Bull track limits

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Red Bull driver programme chief Helmut Marko wants track limits addressed after both of his drivers were impacted at Portimao.

Max Verstappen set the fastest time during the shootout for pole at the Portuguese Grand Prix but due to breaching track limits, that time was wiped which meant he instead lined up P3 behind both Mercedes.

Then come race day, Verstappen set the fastest lap on his final tour of the circuit, only to lose that and the bonus point that comes with it for again exceeding track limits, this time at Turn 14.

Sergio Perez was also affected in the other Red Bull as McLaren’s Lando Norris appeared to leave the track to pass the Mexican during the race, but there was no action from the stewards.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner called the situation in Portimao “frustrating” due to the inconsistency in how track limits were policed, and Marko has now joined the argument in wanting to see changes made, branding the decision to deny Verstappen the fastest lap as “annoying”.

Marko also pointed out that along with the stewards’ call in Bahrain, that being the order for Verstappen to yield the lead to Lewis Hamilton, as he left the track to make the pass at Turn 4, Red Bull have now been denied every major honour in 2021 due to track limits.

“Now we’ve lost the victory, fastest lap and pole position,” Marko said in conversation with Sky Germany.

“All good things come in threes. I hope that’s the end of it. Something has to change. Either you make a boundary with kerbs or you make gravel or something. If you go out, there’s an automatic penalty.

“[Lando] Norris overtook [Sergio] Perez, went over with all four wheels and there were no consequences. So it’s not consistent, and that’s not racing when you juggle the rules like that.”

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Perez explained that he did not defend his position with much force against Norris in Portimao because the McLaren driver had clearly gone off the track, and so he thought the call would come for the position to be returned.

“I looked at my mirrors and I thought Lando was totally off the track limits,” he said.

“Therefore, I didn’t fight the position hard enough, thinking he would give me back the place, but I probably misjudged that one.

“It took me a couple of laps to get past Lando and that created the gap to the leaders. I was basically out of the race by then.”

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