Max Verstappen has admitted that he found the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix “pretty boring” after a lonely and unspectacular race to fifth place in the season-closing race.
Verstappen started the race in fifth and stalked Kimi Raikkonen in the opening stages but was unable to pass the Finn before Raikkonen extended his lead in the second half of the race.
“For me that was a pretty boring race,” said Verstappen. “If I had a pillow in the car I could have fallen asleep. I tried to follow Kimi at the start but it’s so hard at this track and I couldn’t find an opportunity to pass. As soon as you get within 1.5 seconds it is really tough to get close and make a pass.”
Verstappen had struggled throughout for pace practice and qualifying but says that during the race, once he had lost touch with Raikkonen and found clear air, his pace was better than his early weekend form suggested.
“I was surprised at how good my pace was during the race, especially as I have struggled all weekend with the feeling of the car. Once I got caught in the blue flags and I dropped off a bit I was able to see the true pace of the car, and it was actually quite quick.
It’s a shame we couldn’t show it and be able to fight, which also comes as bit of a surprise at this track.”
With the season now over, Verstappen reflected on a second half of the year that saw him add two race victories to his win tally and the Dutchman now looks ahead to next year.
“In all, it’s been a positive end to the year. In the last two races we didn’t maximise our performance but they are not strong tracks for us so we expected that.
“We will keep working hard to improve as we have done over the latter stages of this season and with some improvement from the engine side we should at least be close to the top guys next year.”