The Dutchman knew that there was a lot at stake if he started the second red-flag restart poorly. He positioned his car in such a way where he leaned slightly to the right side to block competitors from getting past him on the inside. Additionally, Verstappen pulled forward further than necessary as well.
The Red Bull car was at ahead of other racers when you look at the overhead footage and pictures taken from the track. This looks similar to the mistakes that Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso made in the first two races, but they are actually very different.
F1’s rules about where drivers should be when they line up for a race are in the Article 48 of F1’s Sporting Regulations. There is one specific clause (c) which both Nico Ocon and Fernando Alonso have broken, but Max Verstappen is okay because it has to do with where their tires are placed.
If any part of the tires on your car are outside the lines when the start signal is given, it will be considered an offence. This applies for Max Verstappen’s Red Bull Racing RB19, Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes F1 W14, and Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin AMR23 cars as well as all other cars in the race.
When looking closely, Verstappen’s tyres were just on the starting line. He was trying his best to get a fast start in the race by positioning his car as close to the start grid as he could.
Right now, the cars have so little visibility from the driver’s seat that it is hard to know whether luck or judgement helped Red Bull’s Verstappen place himself in his spot.
Afterwards, Verstappen stated that he moved a bit farther forward because he thought it was okay, but he didn’t believe he had gone over the limit at all.
I think I didn’t brake in time and lost my way a little bit. But then I noticed that there was enough space for me so I moved forward a bit. It was really close, but not too close. The sun also made it hard to see at the end especially in turns 1 and 3.
This weekend’s Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix in Australia saw the FIA increasing the size of the grid boxes by 20 cm, making it easier for drivers to protect their racing positions better than before.