After finding himself at the back of the field at the first turn following a spin after a small clash with Nico Hülkenberg, Max Verstappen drove another superb race as he made a one-stop strategy work to has advantage to finish fourth in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Red Bull Racing driver made the most of his Supersoft tyre to move up to second before his pit stop, and although he was forced to run the Soft tyre until the end, he ran third before Sebastian Vettel fought his way ahead with just a handful of laps remaining.
“I am very pleased with my result and how that race went,” said Verstappen. “After being last after turn 1, having to fight my way back and doing it all on a one-stop was the best we could do and I am happy we pulled it off.
“I knew I was going to come under attack from the two-stop guys as they obviously had more life left in the tyres, I don’t think I could have held Seb off at the end. When you still finish in front of guys who did an extra stop you have to be pleased with the result, especially as we also finished so close to P1.”
Verstappen believed the clash with Hülkenberg at the first turn was just a racing incident, and admitted he would have done the same as Lewis Hamilton in order to try and win the World Championship after the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver backed team-mate Nico Rosberg into himself and Vettel in the closing stages.
“It was an unfortunate tap at the start which caused the spin, it was just a racing incident though and these things happen,” said Verstappen. “I think Lewis was trying to back us up, and I probably would have done the same, you have to try these things to win a championship.
“It is very nice to finish the season fifth in the championship and to have had some really good results along the way. After yesterday I wasn’t too happy, so now we finish it on a high. It has been a special season for me this year and I am really excited to get next year underway and hopefully bring more success.”