Max Verstappen expands on already preparing for the penalty plus his start then and front wing damage en-route P2 result in F1 Qatar GP.

Red Bull’s Verstappen noted after the race that he was already preparing for the penalty on Saturday evening when he saw the video of missing the yellow flag. The Dutchman reckoned he will be penalised and so it wasn’t surprising for him.

“For my feeling I knew I was going to get a penalty already yesterday evening, so I was prepared for that, so when I saw the result I was not shocked or surprised,” said Verstappen. “You just focus, you have to pass a few more cars than you normally would like but luckily it worked out really well on lap one already.”

He did have a rocketing start to his F1 Qatar GP from seventh – which was the better side – as he gained three places to be fourth which included a bit of a grass moment. A wide moment from Pierre Gasly allowed him to be on the podium place quicker.

He then made a quick work of Fernando Alonso to be second and behind Lewis Hamilton who had a decent five seconds gap intact all-through the event. In fact, it only grew with the pace advantage he had but Verstappen stuck with him.

“It was a very good start, actually,” said Verstappen. “I mean, it’s difficult to expect because there were people of course, around me with Softs, but then the two guys ahead of me had Medium tyres and it’s a new track, so you arrive at Turn 1 not really having had a lot of experience as well, of what is possible or what can happen.

“But I chose the right line into Turn 1 and then yeah, the other cars went a bit wider so that was very nice, yeah, it was enjoyable and hectic as well of course, because you have to be a little bit careful not to pick up damage or whatever on that first lap. It was of course very important to try to clear them as quickly as possible. I had a really good getaway as I said and I was already fourth out of Turn 1.

“Then I think within five laps I was second and yeah, just tried to keep the gap close with Lewis as much as I could, and I think that worked out well. We just didn’t have the pace this weekend to match them. I just tried to follow and yeah, it was alright at the end. I did the fastest lap, which I was pretty happy about. At the end of the day it’s one extra point.

“Everything counts at the moment but yeah, overall I would say this weekend wasn’t the best for us, but there’s still two races to go and a lot of things can happen still, so we’ll see,” summed up Verstappen, who then cleared out where he could have possibly damaged his front wing which actually didn’t cost him as much time.

“I think it happened lap one and lap three or something in turns 14 and 15,” said Verstappen. “By trying to follow I just understeered a bit wide and this extra row of kerbs, they’re quite aggressive and I saw a few sparks flying, so I think it did damage the front wing a little bit but yeah, it just gives you a tiny bit more understeer but it was not enough damage to really impact the pace difference between the two of us.”

Here’s onboard of Max Verstappen during the start:

Here’s full details and comments of Christian Horner regarding his warning

Here’s how F1 Qatar GP panned out

Here’s why Max Verstappen was penalised