Belgian GP ‘not enjoyable’ says Verstappen after ‘lonely’ run to P3
Third in the Belgian Grand Prix gave Max Verstappen his sixth successive podium, but the Dutchman lamented the fact his Red Bull team could not keep up with the dominant Mercedes at Spa Francorchamps…
Verstappen missed out on a front row start by just 0.015s, the Red Bull driver lining up third – and after losing a place and then reclaiming it from Daniel Ricciardo, he pulled away in his RB16 but did not have the performance to make any further progress up the field or attack Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
“I couldn’t really keep up with them when they were pushing,” he said. “And then from my side I ran out of tyres at the end so the last eight laps I was just backing it out, saving the front tyres so it was not really enjoyable out there today.
“On the medium I didn’t really have a lot of grip. On the hard, initially I was trying to put a bit of pressure on Valtteri but they told him to speed up and I couldn’t keep up so it was a bit lonely.”
Maybe it was not the most satisfying P3 but it’s still better than nothing so I’m pretty pleased with that
Ricciardo’s pace in the Renault was so strong, the Australian was in Verstappen’s pit window, and that meant Red Bull ultimately decided not to pit him and instead manage the tyres, the Dutchman having reported vibrations, to the end.
“I was not sure with their [Renault’s] top speed it would be easy to pass [Ricciardo] so we decided we’d just stay out,” he said. “I think I was very close to a puncture but we finished P3, more than that was anyway was not possible today.
“Maybe it was not the most satisfying P3 but it’s still better than nothing so I’m pretty pleased with that.”
Every time Verstappen has finished a race this year, he’s ended up on the podium, his run of six rostrums tying his best career run. He also retains second in the drivers' championship, three points clear of Valtteri Bottas but 47 (nearly two race wins) behind Hamilton.