Race director, Michael Masi explains why Max Verstappen had his fastest race lap time deleted after once again falling foul of the track limits rules.
Though he had lost out to title-rival Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen could at least comfort himself in the knowledge that, courtesy of having posted the fastest lap of the race, the Briton's lead in the championship was just 7 points.
However, the Dutchman was subsequently told that his time had been deleted for exceeding the track limits at Turn 14.
Coming on top of the fact that he lost pole position for a similar offence a day earlier, and in Bahrain had to hand the race lead back to his nemesis after being adjudged as running wide - and gaining an advantage - in passing him, Verstappen couldn't believe it.
Told during the trackside interview with Paul di Resta in the moments after the race that his time had been deleted, Verstappen replied: "That's a bit odd because they were not checking track limits in 14, but whatever?"
However, though Turn 14 wasn't mentioned in the race notes sent out by race director, Michael Masi on Friday, the updated version on Saturday did include Turn 14.
"It's a shame," said Verstappen in a subsequent interview. "Stupid track limits, they should just put gravel back! It is what it is, we always try and I had the gap so we went for it."
"As per the event notes and following a review of what happened on Friday in particular, Turn 14 was being used far more," explained Masi after the race, "it wasn't an issue in 2020 but became one in 2021.
"So as a result I gave all the drivers the latitude to use the red and white kerb in a manner similar to Turn 5," he added.
"They were told if they gained a lasting advantage out of reach of those kerbs, being overtaking a car, faster in a mini-sector, whatever it may have been, that it will be looked at.
"And having looked at it post-race it was very clear Max was off-track and faster in that mini-sector than anyone and set the fastest lap of the race which is a world championship point."
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