Verstappen writes off 'annoying, frustrating race' as 'one to forget' after spinning to P6
The title-deciding Turkish Grand Prix may have been one of the most memorable races of 2020 but it was “one to forget” for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who started second and fell to sixth by the chequered flag after an incident-packed afternoon.
Verstappen’s race was compromised from the start as his anti-stall kicked in and left him crawling to Turn 1, but the Dutchman recovered to podium contention behind the two Racing Points of Lance Stroll - who was leading the race - and Sergio Perez as others faltered. Then, in an attempt to pass podium-finisher Perez at the Turn 11 kink, Verstappen ran wide and spun off, dropping him down the order.
“Yeah it’s just very frustrating, to be honest,” he said after the race. “I tried to follow Checo [Perez] through that kink, and then suddenly I just massively washed out, you get onto the green bit – big spin – trying to keep it out of the wall. Of course, I flat spotted the tyres.”
“Around here there’s only one line in the dry and in the wet so you have to follow them exactly. It’s just driving in a train to be honest. It was just a very annoying, frustrating race – it was definitely one to forget.”
The Red Bull driver spun again later in the race as he battled team mate Alex Albon and came across backmarker Kimi Raikkonen. As for his poor race start, he said: “I had no grip, on the inside, at least. I had an anti-stall as well. Yeah. It’s just incredible.”
It was a frustrating result for Verstappen on a weekend when he had shown leading pace from the get-go in Turkey, as he topped every practice session and only just missed out on pole position to Lance Stroll. It looked like a 10th career win was possible for him, but he explained that the Turn 11 spin left unable to make progress up the field.
“After that you very quickly catch up to the guys, but you can’t pass," he said. "It’s just one line around here and already that line is very slippery so it’s just super frustrating, so we were just waiting for people to pit or whatever.”
He therefore finished behind Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, while Perez and Sebastian Vettel took the last two podium spots as Lewis Hamilton clinched a record-equalling seventh title with victory.
Verstappen's sixth place was the first time this season he has failed to make the podium when he finished the race - though his P6 looked in jeapordy at one stage after the stewards announced they were investigating him for allegedly crossing the white line at the pit entry.
But after the race the officials decided to take no further action as they were "unable to find conclusive evidence that demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that any part of Car 33 crossed completely over the white line separating the pit exit from the track."