Palmer feels Verstappen guilty of ‘unnecessary defending’

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton follows Max Verstappen. Brazil, November 2021.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, follows Max Verstappen, Red Bull, through Turn 2 and Turn 3 at Interlagos. Brazil, November 2021.

Ex-F1 driver Jolyon Palmer felt Max Verstappen compromised himself by being too defensive into Turn 1 at the Sao Paulo GP.

On a weekend where Mercedes found themselves on the end of several punishments from the FIA, Verstappen it seemed was in prime position to extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship.

With Hamilton disqualified from the qualifying standings after his DRS exceeded the maximum permitted gap of 85 millimetres, Verstappen did stretch further clear of the Briton for a time with P2 in sprint qualifying.

But on Sunday, Hamilton unleashed one of his trademark recovery drives to crash the Verstappen party.

Working his way up from P10 on the grid, Hamilton would complete his sensational comeback with a pass on Verstappen as they approached Turn 4, a move which allowed Hamilton to race off into the sunset and claim win number 101 of his career.

But could Verstappen have taken steps to prevent that from happening? Palmer suspects so.

The former Renault driver felt that on multiple occasions Verstappen went on the defensive into Turn 1, despite Hamilton not being close enough to pose a genuine threat, thus hampering his run down to Turn 4 where Hamilton ultimately succeeded in overtaking with the help of DRS.

“We would need another look at this, but I think Verstappen was defending sometimes unnecessarily at Turn 1,” said Palmer while appearing on the Chequered Flag Podcast.

“I think that Hamilton was close, but I don’t think he was close enough to go for a move.

“And Verstappen just kept turning in early for Turn 1, it was compromising his exits down to Turn 4, and I just don’t think he needed to do that.

“On all three occasions quite possibly, I don’t think that Hamilton was close enough for a lunge.

“So I think that is the bit that maybe Max could have done a little bit better in the car, possibly.

“Would it have been enough to see him through the whole race? I don’t know, maybe in the end Hamilton was just a bit too quick.”


With victory at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Hamilton whittled down Verstappen’s lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 14 points.

And for extra encouragement in Hamilton’s case, he heads to the next round in Qatar knowing that Red Bull and Verstappen had no answer at all for his dominating pace at Interlagos.


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