Chinese GP: Max Verstappen fumes after being denied final qualy lap
Verstappen fails to get final flying run after being overtaken on warm-up lap; Max to start fifth but feels third place was possible
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 14/04/19 5:16am
Max Verstappen was left fuming at his rivals after being denied the chance of a final flying lap in Chinese GP qualifying.
The Dutchman was overtaken by Sebastian Vettel and both Renault cars in the closing stages of his warm-up lap, and he failed to cross the line in time to start a timed effort.
Verstappen, who slipped to fifth having been fourth after the first runs, launched an expletive-filled radio message and felt the actions had denied him a second-row spot.
"It's just not what you do in qualifying," Verstappen told Sky F1. "I was just trying to follow the Ferrari in front of me and trying to be nice. I could also have overtaken him.
"This time it caught me out. I'm not happy about that but it will swing around to others as well.
"It's annoying because we could have fought for third today but now we just have to do more overtaking."
Verstappen added: "It's like an unwritten rule that if you get to the last sector you just stay behind each other. I was playing nice, staying behind Charles.
"It's not nice, but I'll remember it. And next qualifying if that comes up, I know what to do."
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Vettel defended his move on Verstappen, saying he was told by Ferrari he had just 10 seconds to make it to the line to start his own lap.
"We were last or last-ish in the queue and I was told we only had 10s margin and at that point I hurry up, I don't care what other people are doing, I want to cross the line," Vettel said.
"I'm surprised that no one else was told because it was not just Max. I overtook two Renaults and the Haas behind me.
"The problem is obviously that all the teams sent the cars at the same spot, which clearly doesn't work."
But Sky F1 pundit Nico Rosberg said: "Beware Sebastian Vettel because you don't want an angry Max Verstappen."
Reflecting later, Verstappen told reporters he was unaware they were so tight for time - but claimed drivers usually have a "gentleman's agreement to stay behind".
"I didn't know if it was 10 or 15 seconds (to the end) so I was just staying behind the Ferrari. With two corners to go it's basically like a gentleman's agreement that you stay behind," he said.
"So I was doing that but I thought we still had like 20-30s left. I guess the cars who overtook me had the hurry up from the engineer that there was something like 10s left. That's how it is.
"It was a mess. They I guess got the call and I got it later on."
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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner also felt Verstappen could have got ahead of the two Ferraris had he been able to complete a second run.
"Max was in a good position, Sebastian passed him round the outside so he's hung back to not get into Sebastian's dirty air," he told Sky F1.
"Then a Renault has passed him and hung back again. The clock ticking down he didn't make it to the line in time.
"It was a shame because it was a good opportunity to try and improve. I think we could have made the second row today.
"We'd managed it in the previous two sessions and in the first run. It means we'll have to race harder tomorrow."
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