After an exemplary performance from Max Verstappen, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing took a monumental victory at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix– commanding the field from start to finish with a strategic masterclass that left Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team dumbfounded.
Having capitalised on a hard-compound start, Verstappen quickly took the lead after both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas pitted for fresh rubber. He went on to dominate the race and become the first non-Mercedes winner of the year.
Alexander Albon did not disappoint either, bringing his RB16 home to finish fifth after pitting early on and charging through the field, pulling off some dazzling overtakes as he went along.
Horner: “This victory is thanks to a monumental Team effort from everyone”
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner was undeniably elated with the result; his face post-race representing the unthinkable delight of thwarting Mercedes’ seemingly unstoppable supremacy. He thanked Honda for supplying a powerful engine and all his engineers both track-side and in the factory for their efforts in making the special day possible.
“Today is an amazing day for the Team with Max putting in a dominant performance in the race. After taking a risk in qualifying yesterday and electing to start on the hard tyre, Max made it pay dividends with great race pace in the first stint.”
“We’re making great strides and days like today show we’re going in the right direction and now we need to harness this potential moving forwards.”
Horner also jokingly wished for ‘a hot one’ at the next race in Spain, jeering at Mercedes sub-standard performance in warmer conditions. The Red Bull boss will hope to once again catch the silver arrows napping next time out and close the gap in the Constructors’ Championship, seeking the all-important prize money.
Verstappen ‘very happy’ with result and performance
Unquestionably overjoyed that he could bring home a win for his team, Max Verstappen believes his team did ‘everything right’ in the fifty-two lap race; the Dutchman charged to a barnstorming finish after excelling on every tyre compound he was pitted onto and says he hopes ‘this will happen a lot more throughout the season’.
“It’s a great day and I’m very happy with the result as we did everything really well as a Team. The race showed we had the right strategy after our decision to qualify on the hard tyre and I’m pleased it paid off.”
Verstappen continued: “We can see the car works well on softer compounds, especially in the race, and it looks after its tyres. When you are able to overtake and pull away from a Mercedes it is really satisfying.”
Furiously motivated as ever, Max went on to thank the entire team and commend their morale, citing: “We’ll keep pushing, we have a really good team spirit and I love that we never give up and do take risks. We will enjoy today because everyone deserves it after all the hard work, before focusing our attention on next week’s race in Barcelona.”
Albon: “The car was unbelievable”
Despite a lacklustre Qualifying on Saturday, Alexander Albon put on a mighty show in the race. The Thai Driver finished fifth after emerging last in the early stages after a pit stop, battling his way through the field to take ten points for his team. Albon praised the car’s pace, saying that he was ‘surprised’ it performed so well.
“I am happy with today’s race and the car was unbelievable. At the beginning of the race it was tricky to overtake with the DRS train but once we had clear air we had a really good chance to get through the field.”
“[The car] was so good, so we need to go away and understand why. It shows we have a lot of potential in the car, it’s just hard to unlock it sometimes.”
Albon concluded: “ It was a good finish to get fifth and hopefully we can now bring some more performance to next week’s race.”