Footage online reveals Max Verstappen receiving help from Pierre Gasly, as the Frenchman didn’t even use his DRS while he could.
After Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen received the grid penalty, Pierre Gasly was promoted to the front row start. It was an excellent opportunity for Red Bull to contest even without their two drivers upfront, as Gasly is from the sister team AlphaTauri.
The Frenchman started the race on soft tyres to get a good start against Lewis Hamilton and make the maximum out of the situation. However, at turn 1, only the Frenchman lost his position to Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.
Meanwhile, Verstappen received a brilliant start. So the only thing Gasly could do here to serve his bosses’ interests was by assisting the Dutchman.
When Verstappen reached near Gasly, he tried his best to let the 24-year-old overtake him as soon as possible. So, much that Gasly was within a 1-second gap against Alonso.
Yet, he didn’t use the DRS so that he doesn’t pace up against Verstappen. Once Verstappen passed him, then only Gasly used his DRS. The video that appeared online is evidence of the narrated event.
Watch the video
DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE THAT GASLY DIDN’T EVEN USE HIS DRS UNTIL THE FINAL METRES OF THE STRAIGHT? CLEARLY A VERY EASY PASS 😉 PIC.TWITTER.COM/MKPT69AHEX
— PETER (@STAVUSPJ) NOVEMBER 21, 2021
Max Verstappen attempted damage control
Soon after Verstappen received his grid penalty, Red Bull realized they could no longer match Hamilton in Qatar. And they were correct. From there on, Verstappen focused on his P2.
Only, in the end, Verstappen went a bit aggressive and took soft tyres to snatch the secure the fastest lap point. He successfully did, and now he stays eight points ahead of his biggest rival ahead of the next race in Saudi Arabia.
“Once I know I was starting seventh I was just very motivated to move ahead and that’s exactly what we did,” said the Dutchman. “We had a good first lap and then after five laps we were second again.”
“And I just tried to keep the gap small, which we did throughout the whole race so they couldn’t do an extra stop – and it gave me the fastest lap at the end, so I was happy with that.”
“We just didn’t have the pace this weekend to match them. I did the fastest lap – at the end of the day it was still one extra point. And everything counts at the moment – but this weekend wasn’t the best for us,” Verstappen added.
“We just need to try and stay focused and there are two races to go and as you can see a lot of things can happen. Anything is possible.”