–by Mark Cipolloni–
Max Verstappen has said Red Bull was not sandbagging, it was simply a case of managing their pace over tire life concerns in Australia, as it was “not necessary” to risk the hard tires wearing out on Sunday because if not for the 2nd Red Flag they would have had to last until the end.
George Russell and others have accused Verstappen of sandbagging to avoid the FIA changing the rules to slow them down.
“I mean, I think anyway, there’s nothing really they can do,” Verstappen said to the BBC’s Checkered Flag podcast when asked if he’s holding pace back so the sport’s top brass do not put rules in place to hinder Red Bull’s progression.
“I mean, we just try to do the best we can with the development of the car, but it’s also about pace management because we didn’t really know – I think no-one really knew – how long that hard tire would last.
“So it’s about just bringing it home because we had a bit of pace I think over the others, and there’s no need to try and gain half a second a lap and destroy your tires to the end because you never know, a Safety Car can happen, red flags, like we had today. So yeah, it’s not necessary to risk all that.”
Russell, his teammate Max Verstappen and their team boss Toto Wolff are not good enough to beat Verstappen using their own skill and ingenuity, and instead were spying on the Red Bull any chance they could get in Melbourne to try and figure out their secret.