Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was left far from pleased after he failed to make the most of his pole position start at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
In one of the most exciting races of recent times, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton once again established his credentials as one of the best to have graced the sport.
However, a lot of this had to do with the strategic calls taken by the Silver Arrows. Interestingly enough, when Verstappen was able to wrestle the lead in the dying embers of the race, he was instructed to allow Hamilton to take the lead.
Less than 5 laps before the finish, Verstappen played his hand and even found himself back in the lead. However, the fact that he went wide over the edge of the circuit meant that DRS would have come into place.
Eventually, this would have led to a 5 second penalty. Red Bull was not keen on this prospect and instructed Verstappen to surrender his advantage.
The Red Bull control room believes that the young Dutchman would have another chance to overtake Hamilton over the final 3 laps.
However, Hamilton showed all his experience and was able to hold on to what could prove to be a big moment in the season, even at this early stage.
Verstappen pinned the blame on his team, saying they should not have instructed him to allow Hamilton through.
“Why didn’t you just let me go? I could have easily pulled five seconds,” he said.
“I prefer to lose a win like that, than to be second like this.”
On their part, Red Bull told Verstappen that this was a necessary measure. Without doing this, they would have been at the mercy of the FIA control room.
A lot had been made of Mercedes’ struggles in pre-season testing. However, the Silver Arrows turned on the heat just when it counted. It was just the message the team would have hoped to send all its rivals, with many suggesting that its dominance was now a thing of the past.
Meanwhile, Mercedes’ other driver Valtteri Bottas rounded off the top 3.
All is not lost for Red Bull. Their RB16B looks extremely fast, even more so than Mercedes’ W12. As long as they can maintain this pace, the season may yet prove to be one of the closest in recent memory.
If you were in the Red Bull control room, would you have suggested that Verstappen allow Hamilton through? Let us know in the comments below!