A fairly matter-of-fact Max Verstappen says he’s not angry with Sebastian Vettel, just disappointed, after the latter punted him off the circuit during their fight for third in the 2019 British Grand Prix.
Verstappen had endured a robust fight with Charles Leclerc for much of the race, the pair resuming their controversial battle from the Austrian Grand Prix, with Leclerc offering a stout defence of third place in the first half of the race.
Verstappen briefly claimed the position after beating Leclerc out of the pit-lane following the first round of pit-stops, only to slip wide at turn four to allow his rival through once more.
A poorly timed pit-stop behind the safety car saw Leclerc drop to sixth, allowing Verstappen to challenge to other Scuderia Ferrari of Vettel, who had leapt into third courtesy of a ‘free’ pit-stop under the same safety car period.
Verstappen eventually got the better of Vettel into Stowe on lap thirty-seven but ran wide on the exit of the corner and was forced to defend the position heading into Vale. But Vettel locked both front wheels and careened into the rear of Verstappen’s Red Bull, sending him broadside over the apex curbs and into the gravel.
Remarkably Verstappen recovered to finish the race in fifth, one place behind team-mate Pierre Gasly, stating “I honestly don’t know how I brought the car to the finish.”
“It’s a shame for everyone in the Team to lose a podium here as the car felt very good and we were so quick in the race,” said Verstappen after the race.
“The battles with Charles were hard but fair and he was defending really well. I didn’t want to risk too much as the race was still very long and we were clearly faster, so it was just a matter of choosing the right time and it was great fun.
“The Team made a really good call with the second pit stop to put me on the hard tyre so we had that advantage over Charles. I then had really strong pace and caught Seb, I passed him and defended into Turn 17 but Seb out braked himself and hit me from behind.
“I ended up bumping over the kerbs and the gravel and I thought the race was over. I honestly don’t know how I brought the car to the finish as it felt like the power steering failed and the floor was damaged, so I’m actually happy to finish fifth and score some points.”
Verstappen insists he isn’t angry with Vettel and appears to take comfort in the “pretty good show” in which he starred.
“I’m not angry but disappointed as it was hard racing and Seb didn’t do it on purpose. He also apologised as soon as I got out of the car which I respect. I think we put on a pretty good show for the fans today and proved the sport is far from boring.”
Verstappen remains third in the drivers’ standings, thirteen points clear of Vettel and forty-eight behind Valtteri Bottas.