The situation was different in the case of world champion Verstappen: The Dutchman landed his bike next to the line, but he was saved by the fact that the interpretation of the rules by race director Edoardo Freitas had changed in the opinion of the stewards (Gary Connelly, Andrew Mallalieu, Jean-Francois Calmes and Derek Warwick) did not cover with the current version of the International Sporting Code.
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto naturally saw things differently: “We are disappointed because we believe it was a clear breach of the rules that both Red Bulls crossed the yellow line at the pit exit,” explains the Italian. “It wasn’t close either. He (Verstappen; ed.) was on the line and the Sporting Code says ‘crossed’ (the line; ed.).”
Binotto continues: “There was a clarification in Turkey 2020 to avoid any discussions. If you look at the race director’s instructions, it says you have to stay on the right-hand side. So riding on the line is a violation of it. All teams have to adhere to the guidelines, so we expect clarification from the FIA.”
This was extremely unsatisfactory for Ferrari in the evening. Due to the rejected protest, Verstappen has increased its lead over Leclerc in the World Cup to nine points. For the Dutchman, however, the mission of defending his title after Monaco will be much more uncomfortable, because he suddenly has the enemy in his own house: Verstappen can no longer expect support from team-mate Perez in the future, because with his victory the Mexican will turn the World Cup duel into one triathlon.
Appropriately emotionally, the 31-year-old showed after crossing the finish line: “It’s a dream come true. In addition to your home race, this is the Grand Prix that you definitely want to win,” said Perez, who shed a tear or two on the podium in the royal box.
With three victories, the proud Mexican is now also the most successful Formula 1 driver in his country, celebrating this with the Mexican flag on the slow-down lap: “Now I have one more win than Pedro Rodriguez. I rode with his helmet colors today and I’m sure he’s very proud of me up there.”