Formula One steward and former F1 driver Emanuele Pirro was acting steward during the Bahrain Grand Prix and explained that Verstappen and Red Bull were not necessarily under strict instruction to give up first place.
“It was clear that both in the practice sessions and in qualifying, the driver who would come off the track at turn four would lose his lap time. That happened several times to several drivers,” Pirro told Corriere dello Sport
“Hamilton went over the track limits a little too often, creating a repeated advantage. That’s why [FIA race director Michael] Masi, the only one with the authority to talk to the teams, called Mercedes to warn them that if Hamilton did it more often he would get the black and white flag. That could eventually result in a punishment.”