Verstappen: Overtaking still very difficult in 2019
Max Verstappen has joined those who don’t think the 2019 rule changes have made overtaking easier. Lewis Hamilton said in Melbourne that the wider and simpler front wings were “no different” in terms of giving the chasing car the ability to pass.
And Romain Grosjean said it is now easier to follow but not pass, due to the weakness of the Pirelli tyres.
Verstappen managed to overtake Sebastian Vettel with the assistance of DRS to take third place at the Australian Grand Prix, but then could not force Hamilton’s hand too much in a brief battle for second.
The Red Bull driver is quoted by Auto Bild: “I had no chance to get past Lewis.
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) March 17, 2019
“It’s still very hard. I always had to keep my distance so as not to ruin my tyres.
“The only positive thing that has improved is the DRS effect. As soon as it opens, it’s a lot more powerful than last year. But there is still a lot of turbulence when following.”
F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn, however, says the data shows there has been an improvement, with more overtaking moves in Melbourne in 2019 compared to a year ago.
“The initial signs are encouraging, as apart from the actual overtakes, we saw some thrilling battles,” he told F1’s official website.
“Several drivers said the cars felt more neutral when following another when compared to previous years.
“But the Australian track isn’t the most accurate test, so I’d prefer to wait for at least another three races before drawing any conclusions.”