Max Verstappen has explained why he passed several cars coming out of the pit lane during Saturday’s 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix Sprint Shootout at Interlagos.
Verstappen, who will start on pole position for Sunday’s 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix, had been on the pace throughout the session with Red Bull electing to send the Dutchman out early to avoid being held up at pit exit.
However, Verstappen missed out on pole by +0.061s from Lando Norris after losing time in the first sector of his final run, putting him second on the grid for the Sprint.
“It was a very tight qualifying,” explained Verstappen after the Sprint Shootout. “I think, just on my last lap in Sector 1 and Sector 2, just not really on it.
“Little mistake into Turn 2 lost the rear and in Turn 4 just too slow. So it’s always a bit tough when you have that one tyre set to risk at all because you might get a reward if you risk at all.
“Today. I think I was just a bit under it. This new rule [at pit exit]. If you’re driving slowly, you have to stay on the left. I wanted to go quick. So I just tried to pass it off.”
Pit lane congestion causes chaos
After the events of last Saturday’s qualifying session for the Mexico City GP, where several drivers blocked the pit exit, the FIA introduced a new rule to prevent a repeat of the fiasco.
In his pre-race weekend notes, race director Niels Wittich banned drivers from stopping in the fast lane of the pits and stated they must create a gap between pit exit and the second safety car line.
The new rule’s first test came in Friday’s Qualifying session, where ever-changing weather conditions caused a surge of drivers queuing up at the exit of the pits to bank their lap times early.
George Russell and Alpine pair Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon were deemed too slow at pit exit during Qualifying and were handed two-place grid drops for Sunday’s race.