Max Verstappen has suggested that the string of track limit violations during qualifying for the 2023 Austrian GP made drivers appear like “amateurs” and “idiots”.
The defending champion secured his fourth consecutive pole position thanks to a 1.04.391s lap at the Red Bull Ring, leading Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by a slim 0.048s.
Yet, the Friday qualifying round for Sunday’s grand prix was most conspicuous for the multitude of lap times disqualified due to drivers overshooting track limits at the final two bends.
Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez didn’t qualify for Q3 for the fourth consecutive event after he ran off the designated track, crossing the painted white lines at Turn 9 and again at T10 towards the end of Q2.
Pole-sitter Verstappen also faltered in Q1, plummeting from first place to 17th after being found to have crossed the painted lines exiting the final bend.
Verstappen perceived the continuous elimination of lap times as making the event look “very silly” and giving the impression that the drivers were “amateurs”.
“I think today looked very silly. It almost looked like we were amateurs out there, the amount lap times that were getting deleted. I don’t think it was a good look today,” he said.
“Of course people can say: ‘Yeah then stay within the white lines’. Well if it was that easy then you can take my car and try it.”
Verstappen added that the strict enforcement of track limits by the stewards detracted from the “joy” of racing, as he had to focus on “surviving” the Q3 fight.
Difficult to judge
Verstappen, added that it was difficult for the drivers to judge the lines, given the tight nature of the circuit in Spielberg, the size of the current generation of F1 cars, and the speed of the track.
“No, it was quite challenging due to all the track limits. We don’t do this intentionally. But at these speeds and these fast corners, it’s so difficult to accurately judge the white line.
“That’s why you saw many people, including myself, get caught out today.
“So honestly, it was more about survival, even in Q3. In the first half, you just want a reliable lap. “[This] takes away some of the pleasure, but I believe we still managed a decent lap.”