Formula 1

“We are still lacking pace” – Max Verstappen

3 Mins read
Credit: Mark Thompson/ Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

World championship leader Max Verstappen finished an excellent second at the Qatar Grand Prix, in what was damage limitation for the Dutchman after starting the race in seventh. Team-mate Sergio Pérez just missed out on the podium in fourth.

Verstappen’s race was made more difficult before it had even begun, the Dutchman was awarded a five-second grid penalty dropping him from second to seventh, after being deemed to have ignored double-waved yellow flags during qualifying.

Verstappen recovered from this setback in rapid fashion, the championship leader quickly found himself in second after a super start followed by some great overtakes. By the time he was up to second though it was already clear that race-winner Lewis Hamilton was just too fast, Verstappen finished comfortably being the current world champion.

Second place and the fastest lap though means Verstappen reduced the number of points Hamilton could claw back, the Dutchman now leads the championship by just eight points with two races remaining. Verstappen is happy with second after what has been a tough weekend.

“I’m of course happy with the result today. This weekend has been quite difficult for us as a Team and we are still lacking pace, I tried everything I could after the five-place grid penalty so to finish in second and score the fastest lap is really good. I had an exciting start and I knew that the first few laps were really important, I had a good launch and I was fairly quickly back in to second place, from there I tried to keep the gap small and that worked out quite well.

“I had fun today, especially when going for the fastest lap. It’s a shame that Checo didn’t make it to the podium today, he scored good points for the Team. I’m also happy for Fernando, we all know how good he is, there’s no doubt about that. For now, we need to stay focused, there are still two races left to go and a lot of things can happen, anything is possible.”

“We had the podium in our pocket” – Sergio Pérez

It was yet another strong comeback drive from Sergio Pérez after starting the race from eleventh place, the Mexican just missed out on third after a late VSC meant he couldn’t catch Fernando Alonso in time.

Considering where he started the race from, fourth was a great result for Pérez with Red Bull Racing collecting a big haul of points at the Losail International Circuit. The Mexican got to work straight from the lights out, in what was a great attacking display by the Red Bull driver.

Pérez is understandably disappointed to have just missed out on a return to the podium after what was a tiring race for the drivers.

We managed to recover from qualifying and moved through the grid quickly from P11, we were in a very good position to be on the podium but unfortunately it didn’t work out. It was a very exhausting race, I was flat out the whole time, overtaking and pushing. We were changing our strategy throughout the race; at some stages we were going for one stop and at others two, but others’ tyres were exploding so we had to protect ours to prevent getting a puncture and maximise our position in the Constructor’s Championship.

“I think we had the podium in our pocket but for the second week running a virtual safety car has potentially cost us. I don’t know if without it we would have definitely caught up with Fernando, but we would have been close. It is a bit of a shame but we managed to minimise the damage from Saturday and Valtteri didn’t score any points which is a big benefit to us.

“Ultimately, I think from a Team point of view we had to play it safe with the constructors in mind. Where we have finished today is a good result for the Team and the longer-term picture, we just have to keep pushing hard and improve our performance in the next two races. Now I am looking forward to Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi because we are going to give it everything, we have a big chance to come on top of the Constructor’s Championship, there is five points in it, it’s all to play for and that is the target.”

Credit: Lars Baron/ Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
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