Max Verstappen says he plans to speak to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in private about the second-corner error that saw him put an immediate end to the Australian’s race.
Having made a good start, Verstappen was pushed onto the artificial grass by Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Valtteri Bottas on the exit of the first corner. Verstappen lost speed heading towards turn two, which put him under pressure from Ricciardo and, as the pair headed towards turn two, Verstappen had the inside.
As the pair entered the second corner Verstappen, with a full load of fuel and now-dirty tyres, locked his front wheels under braking and understeered into the side of Ricciardo. The damage was terminal, and Ricciardo came to a halt just one corner later.
The stewards deemed this to be an error on Max’s part, and handed the Red Bull Racing driver receive a ten-second penalty for causing a collision.
Verstappen finished the race in fifth, thirteen seconds adrift of eventual winner Sebastian Vettel – though was less than a second behind third-placed Valtteri Bottas. Had he not incurred the ten-second penalty, there’s every chance he could have been on the podium – a feat he’s managed only once so far this season.
Verstappen said a lack of downforce in turn two, caused by running so close to the car in front, is what caused him to lock the tyres.
“I think the situation started from Turn 1.” Verstappen said. “My start was actually quite good but then I got squeezed a bit wide on to the astro-turf and lost quite a bit of speed.
“Then Daniel and I were both fighting for position at Turn 2 so we braked quite deep into the corner. I had a car in front of me so I lost quite a bit of downforce and locked the front tyres, from there I was just a passenger. I was trying to avoid Daniel of course but unfortunately that was not possible.
“It is never my intention to hit anyone, but especially not your team-mate, and especially with the relationship I have with Daniel, it’s always really good and we can always have a laugh.
“This is not nice and I apologise to Daniel for that and also to the team because we could have scored some good points here. I’ll speak with Daniel in private and we’ll sort it out.”
Despite the mistake that saw Verstappen take out his team-mate, it was actually a positive weekend for the Red Bull team. They were able to show real pace, and this was something Verstappen was keen to stress.
“It was actually a positive Sunday in terms of pace. It’s not nice what happened in the beginning of the race, so I’m of course not happy with that, but at least the car is moving forward.”
Verstappen heads into the summer break in sixth place in the Driver’s Championship with sixty seven points.