Why Max Verstappen almost ran David Coulthard over after Austrian Grand Prix

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen smiling with David Coulthard. Bahrain 2021

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen smiling with David Coulthard. Bahrain 2021

David Coulthard has recalled the time Max Verstappen wanted to give him a “little scare” with the Dutchman getting a bit too close to Coulthard in the Austrian Grand Prix pit lane.

The Scot and Verstappen, both part of the Red Bull family with Coulthard continuing to do demo runs for the team he once raced for, go back several years with a few jokes having been played out in public.

But while a bit of cake shoving to mark Coulthard’s 50th birthday never hurt anyone, driving a Formula 1 car a little too close to a person on purpose may not be the best idea.

David Coulthard: I filmed it and I thought, ‘God, that was a bit on the edge.’

That’s what Verstappen did at this year’s Austrian Grand Prix as Coulthard, down in the pit lane to conduct the post-race interview with the race winner when he pulled into parc ferme, noted Verstappen was coming in for a very late pit stop.

Chasing the fastest lap point on the day, the reigning World Champion pitted at the end of the penultimate lap with Coulthard standing close by and deciding to take a “wee video”.

In turned out to be a close-up of Verstappen, a little closer than the Scot had expected.

Speaking on the Formula For Success podcast, he told Eddie Jordan: “I went down into the top-three driver interviews so I was standing just before the Red Bull garage in the pit lane with my back to the FIA garage door.

“And I’m standing there with a camera man that will film the top-three interviews. And it’s traditional, you go there and you’re in place ready for when the race finishes. And I see Max is coming down the pit lane so I take my phone out.

“I thought I’d take a wee video of a pitstop for my son, you know, it’d be a nice little thing. He was watching in the pits, and Max came past and I’ll show you the video. He went past about half a metre away from my feet.

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“I couldn’t go any farther back and he pulls into the pit box. I filmed it and I thought, ‘God, that was a bit on the edge.’

“I was flying back with Max to the south of France, back to Monaco. He comes in and goes, ‘Did you like how close I got to you in the pit lane?’ And I went, ‘You knew it was me?’

“He went, ‘Yeah, I didn’t need to go that close. I just wanted to give you a little scare.'”

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