The Dutchman's dominance over the rest of the Formula 1 field was once again apparent. He started the Barcelona race on pole and might as well have had a crossword puzzle with him in the cockpit of his RB19 as he coasted to a victory that never looked in doubt.
Except he wouldn't have touched the puzzle because, competitive as he is, he was still pushing. Other than in a wild turn of events the 25 points were sewn up, but there was still that extra one on offer for the fastest lap and, of course, Verstappen wanted it.
The problem was, he had already been shown the black and white flag for track limits violations and told about it by engineer Gianpiero Lambiase over the radio. One more such infringement and he would have been slapped with a five-second time penalty.
As it was, it wouldn't have made much of a difference. But if a safety car bunched up the field then it might have cost him the victory. Nevertheless, Verstappen went on to set a new fastest lap anyway, despite being asked not to push to the limit and risk exceeding track limits again.
Red Bull chief Horner was asked about it after the race by Nico Rosberg. He told the Sky Sports pundit: "He and his engineer have a relationship like an old married couple. You could hear them talking over the radio, almost like arguing over which channel shall we watch.
"Having had three strikes, the next one was a time penalty and if there was a safety car or something like that, that could have been extremely painful. The engineer is trying to manage Max and say, 'Don't take any risks, bring it home and keep it between the lines'. Max, I think he wasn't aware he was exceeding the limits and he just wanted that extra point for the fastest lap."
Rosberg then asked if Horner planned to sit down with Verstappen to talk to him about seemingly ignoring those orders. In response, the team principal played down the seriousness of the situation, but admitted the topic is likely to come up.
Horner added: "He's in the car and he knows. Of course, we'll talk about it – in a situation where there was more to lose than that then we'd talk about it very firmly. All we can do is pass on the information and what he chooses to do with that information, he's in control of that."2023-06-05T06:05:35Z dg43tfdfdgfd