Max Verstappen wants Red Bull review into costly Safety Car call

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen in the media pen. F1 Baku April 2023.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen talks to reporters in the media pen. Azerbaijan April 2023.

Max Verstappen has said he and Red Bull will review why he did not take advantage of a ‘cheap’ pit stop in Baku, with the Safety Car costing him the lead on Sunday.

The Dutchman had led the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in the early stages, but AlphaTauri driver Nyck de Vries’ crash brought out the yellow flags, under which Verstappen pitted, before the full Safety Car came out.

This ended up costing him the lead, with team-mate Sergio Perez pitting under Safety Car conditions and losing less time than Verstappen, with Charles Leclerc also jumping ahead of the reigning World Champion in the pit lane.

Verstappen was able to get back past the Ferrari, but he was kept at arm’s length by his team-mate for the remainder of the race and eventually came home second come the chequered flag.

He conceded that he and Red Bull may have got “unlucky” with the timing of the Safety Car, but he wants to see whether or not the extra information the team had compared to him could have prompted a cheaper pit stop for himself.

“I saw that there was a car stopped, I thought he maybe just locked up. In hindsight, I mean, I can’t see that but yeah, it’s something to review,” Verstappen told reporters in Baku.

“I mean, clearly you could see there was one wheel damaged and it looked like he was not going to drive that anyway back to the pits, even if he would have reversed, so something to look at, because of course that then did hurt my race after that.” recommends

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“I could see the car stopping but, I mean, you see it on the screen, you cannot look into detail if every wheel is connected to the car properly,” he continued.

“I mean, of course, the team has a bit more overview to that. But like I said, we’ll look into that if there was anything we could have done different.

“But I also don’t know when the exact call came to pit, right? So yeah, it’s difficult to say at the moment.”

Team principal Christian Horner felt Red Bull made the “optimum” call for Verstappen in the moment, but it just so happened to fall in the favour of Perez on this occasion.

“It was the optimum time to stop from a performance point of view,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“De Vries hasn’t hit the wall, the engine was still running and to us, it looked like he was going to reverse out and go from there.

“So we had already committed to the stop and of course, with 20-20 hindsight, you can always say should have, would have, could have but sometimes things like that just don’t go your way.

“His misfortune was Checo’s good fortune.”