Max Verstappen admitted it was disappointing to be involved in a first lap crash for the second race in a row, with the Dutchman taking a lot of damage to his RB16B after being hit by Lando Norris at turn one at the Hungaroring.
Norris had already been hit by the out-of-control Valtteri Bottas heading into the turn on a damp track in Hungary, but the damage to Verstappen’s car was significant, and the Red Bull Racing driver was lucky to finish the race.
Verstappen struggled against cars he would usually breeze past, with a pass on Mick Schumacher proving difficult particularly telling as the Uralkali Haas F1 Team have regularly been the slowest team on the grid in 2021.
Ultimately, Verstappen finished on the road in tenth to score a single point, although Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification ahead of him moved him up to ninth and to two points. However, he did lose top spot in the Drivers’ Championship to Lewis Hamilton.
“It was all out of our hands in the race and I can’t believe I got taken out for the second week running,” said Verstappen. “The mechanics did what they could to get me back in the race but I was carrying a lot of damage on the car after the incident and it was super difficult to drive with, there was a lot of oversteer and understeer from the downforce loss.
“Of course it’s really disappointing to only score one point but on the other hand I was incredibly lucky to continue after the crash so it was a surprise to score a point at all which is still important.”
Verstappen says Red Bull will come back fighting after the summer break as they bid to end the domination of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, who have won the past seven Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships.
He also congratulated his long-time rival Esteban Ocon for taking his maiden Formula 1 victory in Hungary, with the Alpine F1 Team racer taking advantage of Hamilton’s error at the restart to take the lead and ultimately the win.
“We have the summer break now but we keep pushing, we will never give up and we will focus on ourselves,” he said. “We’ve had two very unlucky races but nothing is lost, it’s still a very long season.
“Congratulations to Esteban too, you can see that he is super happy and I’m sure many more race wins will follow.”
“It is unbelievable to be hit like that at Turn 1” – Sergio Pérez
Team-mate Sergio Pérez failed to make it through the opening lap after also finding himself involved in the incident initiated by Bottas, with the damage to his RB16B too much for him to continue.
Pérez had been looking for a strong result in Hungary to go into the summer break with confidence, but ultimately, he was left to rue what might have been but for the crash, particularly as he was up to third place heading into the turn.
The Mexican felt he had the potential to make gains when the track was at its dampest, so to be taken out of the race was not what he was hoping for.
“I don’t know what to say but it is unbelievable to be hit like that at Turn 1 and a massive blow for us as a Team,” said Pérez. “I got a good start and was up to third and it is such a shame because I think we had a good opportunity in those conditions, but there was nothing I could do.
“I have watched the replays as it was hard to understand exactly what happened behind me from inside the car and I just knew I got a big hit. Bottas made a big mistake and braked too late into Turn 1 which took out a lot of cars, including me and caused bad damage to Max’s car.
“He came to me and apologised as he knew it was his mistake, and although it was not on purpose and is how racing goes sometimes, it doesn’t make a difference to the result for us right now as the large amount of damage ended our race and opportunity for points.”