Max Verstappen praised his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team for getting the strategy “spot on” as he moved from eighteenth on the grid to finish second at the United States Grand Prix.
The Dutchman suffered a suspension failure in qualifying that, along with a gearbox penalty, put him near the back of the grid but Verstappen fought his way back through the field and felt undercutting Valtteri Bottas was key to getting on the podium.
“It is safe to say today went a lot better than expected.” said Verstappen. “I managed to stay out of trouble on the first lap while progressing up the field as the pace of my car was really strong.
“This was crucial as it allowed me to settle into my own rhythm and catch the cars ahead. I didn’t think the Soft compound was the best out there, once I pitted I felt more comfortable and able to control the Supersofts.
“The undercut on Valtteri was ideal and probably the key to achieving the podium, a great call from the team.”
Starting on the soft tyre meant Verstappen could switch to the faster supersoft for the latter stages of the race and helped him in his battle to keep Lewis Hamilton behind in the final laps.
“In fact, our entire strategy was spot on and once we stopped we were able to manage the Supersofts all the way to the end. The last 10 laps were pretty exciting, especially being the only car on the softer compound fighting at the front.
“I was trying to get close to Kimi but at the same time keeping an eye on Lewis in my mirror, it was close but we managed to hang on to second. Lewis had a go but we both gave each other plenty of room and thankfully he ran a bit wide and onto a dirty part of the track.”
Verstappen kept the pressure on Kimi Räikkönen but admitted that the tyres had gone off enough to mean he couldn’t fight for the win.
“I think I started to run out of traction towards the end so attacking Kimi was not on the table. The team have certainly earnt a little celebration tonight before we head to Mexico, where we will try to do even better.”