Max Verstappen has said he struggled to understand why the FIA stewards opted to bring out red flags several times during the Australian GP.
The race in Melbourne came under red flags three times for incidents that multiple drivers came on the radio to say they didn’t think warranted a full race stoppage.
The race eventually ended behind the safety car after two late red flags, the first caused by a crash by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, and the second on the penultimate lap after the restart from a collision between the two Alpine cars.
Verstappen won the race from pole position in another dominant display from Red Bull, but the Dutchman said he was left confused about why the stewards had opted to bring the drivers back into the pits when he felt a safety car or VSC would have sufficed.
“Of course, very happy to win the race. But I think the race itself towards the end was a bit of a bit of a mess with all the calls,” Verstappen told the media.
“I don’t think we needed that second red flag, that could have been done with a virtual safety car, or a safety car at worst.
“It left a lot of drivers confused about why it needed a red flag.”
Verstappen lost the lead of the race from pole position at the beginning of the race to the Mercedes of George Russell, with the Brit getting the better start off the line and going up the inside of the Red Bull into Turn 1.
Russell eventually retired from the race due to a power unit failure, and Verstappen was able to easily sweep past the other Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton to regain the lead and sail off into the distance.
The reigning champion said that while he could have gone harder at the start, the knowledge that he had the pace over the race distance on his rivals meant he could afford to take his time.
“I think I was also quite careful, I think I could have been a little bit more aggressive,” Verstappen said.
“But on the other hand, I didn’t want to have any damage on my car, because I knew that we had a quick car?
“So even losing one or two spots was not the end of the world.”