Last Sunday at the Turkish Grand Prix, the two Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon were literally stuck on the starting grid when the lights went out, with the rest of the field streaming past.
Although the track was largely slippery and the two Red Bull drivers were on the dirty side of the grid, according to former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer, the slow getaway could be due to a procedural error and not a mistake on the part of the drivers themselves.
“The start was a relative disaster for the two Red Bull drivers,” Palmer said in his latest column for the F1 site.
“By starting second and fourth they were both on the dirty and wetter side of the grid and that certainly had an effect, with other drivers like Leclerc and Norris also having hideous starts from twelfth and fourteenth place.
“Without any doubt, the best side to take the start was the outside, which was drier. We saw in the last part of the race how little grip there was outside the line and how easy it was to turn from the wetter part.
“It was this difference in grip that hurt the Red Bulls, Leclerc and Norris the most, because they barely managed to take off from the outside.
“But there were other drivers who made good starts despite the fact that they were also on the wrong side of the grid. In particular, Lewis Hamilton started from sixth place and quickly passed the two Red Bulls.
“This indicates that it wasn’t just a bad grip and the fact that both drivers had such a bad start suggests a procedural mistake, rather than a specific driving error, although Verstappen pulled his clutch a second time as the engine speed decreased, which made his start worse than Albon’s.
“The two Red Bull drivers started in first gear, which is the conventional method on the dry and about the only time first gear is used on the track.
“But in wet conditions, everyone else starting from the top ten used second gear to start, to limit the slippage of the wheels on start-up.
“However, AlphaTauri also used first gear [other cars with Honda engines] and they had better starts, so this may not be the decisive reason. ”
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I read somewhere that Stroll started the race in THIRD gear, so maybe the blame should be on Verstappen for not using a higher gear (as you would when driving on snow). Ultimately it is the driver who has to take responsibility.