Max Verstappen admitted to playing it safe in the closing moments of the British Grand Prix after making a precautionary pit stop with two laps to go, with the front left tyre in particularly causing the team some worry.
Red Bull Racing felt it was important not to have a tyre failure, especially as both Scuderia Ferrari drivers suffered tyre issues in the closing laps, with Verstappen moving up to fourth as a result of Sebastian Vettel’s issue, although it could have been third ahead of Kimi Raikkonen had the team gambled on keeping him out.
“It is a positive day, I am happy to finish the race and get some solid points once again,” said Verstappen. “We got a bit lucky with Seb’s puncture at the end and I pitted to be safe as I knew I had enough room behind me.
“The front left didn’t feel great and having seen what happened to the Ferrari we played it safe. If I had seen Kimi pit at the end I may have stayed out to try and get a jump on him but we made the precautionary stop to make sure we finished.
“With a lot of fast rights here it takes its toll on the front left so we knew there would be issues late on.”
One of the highlights of the race was Verstappen’s battle with Vettel, which saw the two battle hard both on the opening sequence of corners on lap one, and then later on at Stowe and Vale, with Vettel first pushing the Red Bull driver off the track before Verstappen did the same on the Ferrari driver.
Verstappen admitted that after the battles with Vettel his race was less exciting, with the Ferrari driver having used the undercut to jump the Dutchman, and the teenager was happy that the car felt much more competitive than it did during qualifying on Saturday.
“At the beginning I knew I was quite a bit slower than Seb so I just did my best to stay in front and have some fun, it was the only thing I could do and luckily he didn’t manage to pass me on track, after that little battle my race became a bit lonely,” admitted Verstappen.
“Our pace was pretty good and the car felt competitive during the race, it felt better than it did in qualifying so now we need to understand why we struggled yesterday.
“Fourth is a good result, probably one place better than we expected which is always nice. We have some upgrades coming in Hungary which I am hoping will make some steps towards being able to fight with the top two teams.”