Unlike last year, when he had an easier victory, Max Verstappen had to work to delight his audience and recover 25 points from the shores of the North Sea.
The Red Bull driver was arguably fastest at the Dutch F1 Grand Prix this weekend, but he had to noticeably overtake Lewis Hamilton late in the race to win!
“Yeah, it wasn’t an easy race, you know. So it’s even more rewarding to win the race. »
“We couldn’t really apply our preferred strategy until the very end and that made the race a bit more difficult for us, until the last safety car, because we were a bit more competitive on the softer tyres. »
“But then of course with that last safety car we were able to go back to our favorite tyre, the soft tyres, and we were able to get the lead back. »
Like George Russell with Mercedes, did Max Verstappen seek to influence the strategy chosen for him in the race?
“It was difficult. I gave my opinion on what I wanted with the tyres. For example, I said, don’t use hard tyres. But we had to, because of the virtual safety car. It was a bit unfortunate. And clearly we were a bit lacking in pace. with those hard tires compared to the Mercedes with the medium ones. »
“The gap was still big enough to handle to the end. But they certainly would have been much closer than the 11 1/2 seconds that were there at the time. [sans voiture de sécurité virtuelle]. Then the Safety Car came out and there is no way to stay with hard tires in these conditions. So we had to go back to the pits at the end, but I didn’t ask for it. »
“You also have to trust that your team will make the right decisions and they did. So they took me home. »
Can Max Verstappen talk about his overtaking at the finish line on Lewis Hamilton, after the safety car?
“Surprisingly we had a very good restart and then with the extra top speed we have compared to Mercedes I was able to overtake at Turn 1.
Is Verstappen worried about Mercedes?
As at the Hungaroring, the Mercedes had strong pace and seemed capable of, if not beating, at least worrying Red Bull and Max Verstappen on a regular basis.
Did the race pace of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell stress Max Verstappen?
“I was surprised that they were so fast on the harder compounds. I must say that these tires are very stiff, you know, the C1 and the C2. And they didn’t really seem to get into the right operating window for us as well as they did. I think that’s what made things a little more complicated for us. But then once we were able to get back to the softs, we were able to counter them. »
“I was probably expecting them, Mercedes, to be a little bit slower. And he hoped that Ferrari would be a little faster. »
“I must say that when I switched to the mediums of course I was catching up with them, which is normal because I had a newer tyre, they were still making good times I must say. When they were hard, it was quite interesting to see their rhythm, because I never wanted to get hard. »
“But yeah, when I heard the lap times from Mercedes, I thought… ‘wow, that’s fast’.” And I tried to push a little. But they were still a few tenths faster. So yeah, it’s pretty amazing that they managed to get this tire to work here. They were clearly fast in the race. »
The two Mercedes separated their strategies during the last period of the safety car: George Russell went back to seek offers, Lewis Hamilton did not… and quickly changed his mind…
Like Lewis, did Max Verstappen think, in retrospect, that the correct strategy was to put on new soft tyres?
“It’s always easy to talk after the fact, but George’s decision was the right one in the end. Because with the pace we had on the soft tyres, I would have passed them both. [si les Mercedes ne s’étaient pas arrêtées] because the difference in grip was quite large, it turned out to be. »
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