Penalties actually increased Verstappen's chances of winning the title

22-11-2021 12:23 | Updated: 22-11-2021 13:27
F1 News
Penalties actually increased Verstappen's chances of winning the title

For Max Verstappen and his fans, the grid penalty in Qatar was a major setback. Especially with Lewis Hamilton on pole, who then had a relatively easy time winning the race. Something that Verstappen seemed to be able to forget because of the penalty. Yet the grid penalty seems to have increased Verstappen's chances of winning the title.

Well done

On the official site of Formula 1 journalist Mark Hughes writes that precisely because of this grid penalty Verstappen lost not eight or seven, but only six points on Hamilton. "The griddrop may have done him good," he states. How exactly is that? Verstappen was back in second place within four laps of the race, while Hamilton was leading. Bottas (who also had a grid penalty) just lost quite a few places and completed the opening lap in eleven. A few places behind the Red Bull of Sergio Perez, who qualified only eleventh.

Between Hamilton and Verstappen, slower cars were running on the softest and less durable tyres. The only other cars that did have speed - those of Perez and Bottas - were far away busy with their own race. Then there was a big gap between Verstappen and Alonso. "Crucial for the fastest lap," says Hughes. 'To get this (extra point), you have to come into the pits late, at the moment when the car is low on fuel and you need the softest tyres. Verstappen was well positioned, as his margin to the rear was greater than 25 seconds.

Losing position

Hamilton could not make an extra stop, because then he would lose his position to Verstappen. If Bottas had started the race from third place - or perhaps second place - there is a good chance that Verstappen would not have been able to make the extra stop either. However, we are assuming that Bottas would not have had to retire in that case. In short, Verstappen lost only six points to Hamilton instead of seven or eight.

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