Max Verstappen revealed that he’s struggling to find balance with his Red Bull car at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and doubled down on the pit-lane fiasco by stating other drivers “have to move” out of his way.
Come the end of Free Practice 2, Verstappen’s best time was only good enough for third fastest, behind Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, with the Dutchman sitting 0.173 seconds down on the Ferrari’s lap.
He said that he wasn’t at harmony with his RB19 throughout the session and at one stage described his all-conquering 2023 challenger as “bouncing like a kangaroo” in the third sector, with little knowledge to be harvested from FP2.
“From our side, the balance was very off,” Verstappen said to media after the session. “A lot of understeer, a lot of jumping, so definitely a few things to figure out for tomorrow.
“I also didn’t expect to be so far off, so that’s also a bit of a question mark for us. We are still P3, it’s not too bad but balance wise it can be a lot better, so we’ll try to have a look at what to do there.
“A lot to figure out for FP3 to be good in qualifying, we will see.”
Verstappen staunchly defends pit-lane rights
Perhaps his frustrations boiled over with his RB19 when he attempted to overtake three cars in the Yas Marina Circuit pits, following the second red flag of the day, in an incident that came shortly after he criticised Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant for jumping the queue.
As he attempted to pass both Mercedes and an Alpine, Verstappen found himself stuck between a Formula 1 car and a hard place as he had to brake to avoid a collision in the narrow, underground tunnel.
After some time to diffuse from the moment, the world champion still doubled down on his right to overtake.
“They have to move!” Verstappen said to press. “They are all driving slow and I want to go out because we are all limited on time and they keep on driving in the middle. Then I went to pass, they try to squeeze me in the wall, so a bit silly.”