Despite coming to the Marina Bay Street Circuit with the aim of victory, Max Verstappen was pleased with the outcome of the Singapore Grand Prix, with the Dutchman gaining one position from his starting place to finish on the podium.
The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver was able to make his pit strategy work to jump ahead of Mercedes AMG Motorsport’s Lewis Hamilton by pitting before the current championship leader, and he was able to repel the Briton’s attack in the closing laps despite having much older tyres than his rival.
Verstappen said that tyre conservation was the name of the game throughout the race in Singapore, with the early pace in particular so slow so to be able to keep some life in the soft Pirelli rubber during the first stint.
“Of course we always want to win but finishing on the podium and gaining one place on a track where you can’t really overtake is positive,” said Verstappen. “It’s true that we came here hoping for more but this is still a good result for us, especially with the pace that the others had yesterday in qualifying.
“Most of the race was about managing the pace to keep the tyres alive and luckily that worked out for me. Charles was managing his tyres out front and the pace was pretty slow but that kept everyone really close and allowed me to get the undercut on Lewis.
“We had good pace after the pit stop and I was comfortable in third even with all the safety car re-starts until the last few laps when Lewis was pushing hard to overtake me on newer tyres, but luckily we were able to hold on.”
Verstappen acknowledged that the race was far from exciting due to all the tyre conservation going on, but to leave Singapore with a podium finish was good, with it giving some positive momentum heading into next weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
“I wouldn’t say that today was that exciting from a racing perspective but Singapore has a lot of plus points being a street circuit, really tough on the body and just being a cool track to drive on,” said the Dutchman.
“This wasn’t exactly the weekend we hoped for but we will keep pushing before next weekend.”