Max Verstappen believes Red Bull Racing were always going to struggle overtaking at the Mexican Grand Prix due to a straight line speed deficit.
The Dutchman saw the chequered flag in third, behind both Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team drivers. Just as he pulled into the pit lane, he was handed a five-second time penalty as the stewards deemed him gaining an advantage when defending from Sebastian Vettel.
He crossed the grass before returning to the track and retaining his position. Vettel was unable with this defending from Verstappen, ending the race in a bad mood because of Verstappen. After the podium celebrations though, Vettel received a ten-second time penalty which saw Verstappen finally finish in fourth.
Verstappen compares this incident to what happened with Lewis Hamilton on lap one, he feels though Hamilton gained an advantage where he didn’t.
“When I went off the track towards the end, I think it was pretty similar to Lewis on lap one, corner one,” said Verstappen. “He went off and I felt he gained an advantage, I didn’t even gain an advantage.
“I was ahead going into braking and when I came back on the track I was the same distance in front so I don’t understand the penalty. I think it was a small bit of justice that the stewards made the decision to penalise Seb. It was clearly a wrong move which has been punished according to the rules.”
Once all the penalties were added to the corresponding drivers, Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished in third. Verstappen is happy that Ricciardo was on the podium as it’s a great result for the team, one that increases their points for second in the Constructors’ Championship.
“I’m really happy for Daniel to get on the podium after a strong drive and it’s a great result for the team,” added Verstappen. “It makes our second position in the Constructors’ Championship that little bit closer.
“After a bit of stress we end the weekend with smiles all round. I could have done with a few more laps on the supersoft to get me closer to overtaking Nico, but at the end of the day we were always going to struggle to overtake here due to straight line speed. At the end of the day the Mexican fans have been amazing once again, the atmosphere and noise was great.”