Max Verstappen heralded his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team after taking victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, with the strategy calls and amazing pit work, coupled with a strong car giving him his third win of 2019 and eighth of his career.
Twice the Dutchman had to pass Mercedes AMG Motorsport’s Lewis Hamilton to take the lead but Verstappen had the pace in his RB15 to get ahead of the World Champion into turn one, and he felt the victory was a retribution for his 2018 race at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace where he was spun around by Esteban Ocon whilst on course to win.
“It’s an incredible feeling right now and to win today was a huge Team effort,” said Verstappen. “It was a crazy race with a lot of action and fighting but luckily we always had the pace to counter back and overtake Mercedes in every scenario.
“It wasn’t easy out there but the Team made all the right calls, especially at the end to pit for the soft tyres during the Safety Car which gave us the win today. As a Team you always try and make everything perfect, I focus on my job and the Team also try to do a perfect job in the pits and on the strategy and clearly today it worked out pretty perfectly.
“It’s a great victory, after last year of course, but more for the way the race unfolded and how we all had to work together.”
Verstappen praised both the team and engine suppliers Honda for all the hard work being done to give him a competitive car, but he was downbeat that team-mate Alexander Albon couldn’t have joined him on the podium after late race contact with Hamilton.
“Today and the whole weekend the car and Honda power unit have been working really well and we have made a step so thank you to everyone for that,” said the Dutchman.
“It is of course a massive shame that Alex could not be on the podium with me as it would have been an even better result for the Team but it’s great for Pierre [Gasly] to be up here and for [Scuderia] Toro Rosso and Honda.”
Team-mate Albon had avoided all the carnage and was on course for his maiden top three finish only for the contact with Hamilton to occur on the penultimate lap. He had driven a good race up to then only to be spun around and relegated to the back of the field, ultimately ending up fourteenth in the final classification.
Albon was running amid the battle for the podium for much of the afternoon and had made some good overtakes a long the way, particularly on the penultimate restart against Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel that moved him up to third. However, the contact with Hamilton ruined his day, although he was more upset than angry that he was denied his maiden top three finish in Formula 1.
“Of course I’m frustrated but I’m not angry, I’m just upset,” said Albon. “I wanted that podium and we deserved it as it was on merit.
“At the Safety Car restart we had some fun and I enjoyed battling with the Ferraris, the overtake felt good! Obviously Lewis had good grip once he pitted and I think he would’ve got me eventually into Turn 1, but I thought worst case scenario we had P3.
“I had a good gap to Lewis and I wasn’t worrying about him. I went into the corner deep just to cover him so he didn’t get any ideas, and then there’s a blind spot and obviously we made contact. Of course he didn’t do it on purpose, it’s just one of those things and today wasn’t meant to be. It’s done now and we’ll focus on the positives before the next race.
“Congratulations also to Max, he drove really well and deserved the win.”