Max Verstappen: “The pace was there for a podium today”

Max Verstappen - Credit: Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Max Verstappen felt a podium finish was there for the taking at the Hungaroring, only to find himself embroiled in a battle with the Ferrari drivers that ultimately saw the young Dutchman finish fifth.

The Red Bull Racing driver made a good start and was looking to challenge Lewis Hamilton into the first corner only to run out of track on the inside, meaning he only retained his fourth place rather than make gains, but lost out to Sebastian Vettel at the pit stops and then found himself under threat from Kimi Raikkonen.

Verstappen defended the way he held off Raikkonen, feeling he was simply protecting his position with tyres well past their best at the end of the race.

“The pace was there for a podium today,” said Verstappen. “I felt like I had a good start and got close to Lewis into Turn One but then ran out of track and couldn’t brake late.

“After the first stop it was very frustrating to be behind a Ferrari at the start on the fresher tyres. It was a shame because at the beginning we were quick and I tried to create a gap to the Ferraris which lead to me having to back off as I got too close to the car in front.

“This meant when I pitted I got out behind them both and that was pretty much my race done. Being behind meant I destroyed my tyres trying to find a pass so the opportunities went away as the race went on.

“Regarding my battle with Kimi I was simply protecting my position. I drove hard and just made sure I didn’t lock up or make a mistake.”