The reason why Verstappen attacked Hamilton on the final lap so quickly

Helmut Marko of Red Bull has revealed why Max Verstappen elected to challenge Lewis Hamilton for the lead on the penultimate lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Turn 5.

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen pushed Lewis Hamilton for the lead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at an inappropriate time, according to Helmut Marko, when the Dutchman made a move at Turn 5.

Because of the timing of the pass, Hamilton was able to slipstream Verstappen all the way down the Yas Marina Circuit’s two back straights, putting pressure on the Red Bull until the new Turn 9.

Verstappen chose to attack owing to the onset of his leg cramp and the uncertainty of whether he’d be able to pass down the straight, according to Marko of Formel1.de.

“Max suffered from a cramp in his lower leg,” Marko said.

“He no longer had full control of his foot and did not know how that situation would develop. That is why he attacked immediately.”

“Normally you wouldn’t do that there, because then you give Hamilton the chance to counter using his DRS,” continued Marko, erroneously, as DRS is not active for two laps following a Safety Car period.

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Verstappen’s strategy, according to Marko, was to take advantage of his fresher tyres’ improved traction out of Turn 5.

“In Turn 5, you need a lot of grip when accelerating out,” Marko said, “something we could fall back on with the Soft tyres.”

“I wanted to be in control”

In an in-depth interview with his father Jos for personal sponsor CarNext, Verstappen discussed the timing of the pass.

With Verstappen dad expecting that his son would line up Hamilton on the straight, interviewer David Coulthard said that he learned about his own driving deficiencies, since he believed Verstappen had made a mistake trying for the move into Turn 5.

The younger Verstappen, on the other hand, laughed and stated he wanted to be in charge of his own destiny down the straights, recognizing that Red Bull’s decision to run with a lower downforce rear wing had influenced his decision.

He commented: “I knew I had better top speed. I was like, ‘As soon as I’m ahead, then I can control the defence’.

“When you’re behind, you [the driver ahead] can always close the door, and then you’re not fully in control. It’s like, ‘I need to send it there and then I am in control’.”

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