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Max Verstappen Q&A: Pit stop mix-up 'very obviously my mistake'

23 Oct 2016

Max Verstappen's eventful race in Austin saw him at one stage come into the pits to find no pit crew waiting for him, before retiring his car several laps later with a transmission issue. After the race he discussed how events unfolded - as well as explaining his choice of parking spot...

Q: Max, what happened in your race today? It was a pretty strange...

Max Verstappen: Ha, yes. I think it was a gearbox issue that caused my exit from the race. I simply noticed that something went bust – and that was it for me.

Q: But that gearbox issue was not the only glitch of your race. The usual procedure between driver and team is that you communicate before a pit stop…

MV: True. There was a rather surprising pit stop – for me and obviously for the team. The lap before I pitted I heard the words 'push hard', and that’s what I did. But then I thought that they might have said: 'pit now'. Obviously it was a misunderstanding and very obviously my mistake! I admit that all was not very clever. (Laughs) It was good that in the end it didn’t make any difference.

Q: Why did you park your car at the spot you did? It forced a virtual safety car...

MV: I was told by the team to stop right then and there. First I was told to go on. When I told them that I have a serious issue, that there were some hits on the engine I was told to immediately stop in the gravel. Usually it is in neutral and you can move it, but that was not possible any more. I could not move it into the gap. I just had to leave it there.

Q: After the race Daniel Ricciardo said that he was very unhappy you stopped at this inopportune time. Is he right to complain?

MV: Yes, I guess so. But it happened and I cannot undo it.

Q: Up until that botched pit stop your race was not too bad…

MV: Not bad at all. Of course after that pit stop it was hard to overtake Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes was simply too fast on the straights. But we also have not been far off their pace, so without that unfortunate pit stop it would have looked pretty promising, up until that moment when I got that serious problem on the car. But there is no correlation between the pit stop that went wrong and the obvious gearbox failure. All these things can happen in a race.

Q: Were you happy with your start?

MV: Well, when you start on the harder compounds it is always a bit more difficult. Then I had a bit too much front wing in the first stint, that was sorted out with my first pit stop. So overall I was satisfied with how I managed to come into the race.

Q: Next weekend you're in Mexico. How easy or difficult is it to get this Austin experience out of your head?

MV: I don’t get crazy over it. I can digest these things very easily and get over them. All I can say is that it was sad that it didn’t go better for me. But what I take from here is that the pace is good and that is a promising outlook for Mexico.

Q: Lately your colleagues have given you a pretty hard time. You have been criticised a lot. Is that something that affects you?

MV: No. I am a grown-up boy! (Laughs)