Max Verstappen admits he wanted to disappear from the pole position and drive his race in France, but that it doesn’t like that way in Formula 1 and that they had to take risks and work hard to beat Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes.
Verstappen got off to a good start after winning the second pole position this season, but lost the lead after a mistake in the second corner although he regained the lead after the first tyre changes thanks to an earlier pitstop.
Although Mercedes drivers pushed him hard at the time, Verstappen successfully retained the lead and then Red Bull opted for a second tyre change for fear that the tyres would not last until the end if they continued to push as hard.
This proved to be the right move even though only Leclerc went for a second pitstop as Verstappen managed to catch and overtake both Mercedes drivers and his team-mate Perez for a third win this season.
“Winning this race was an amazing Team effort and to have a double podium at a track like this really shows the hard work everyone is putting in here and in Milton Keynes at our factory and Honda’s,” said Verstappen.
“Of course I would have liked to pull off into the distance and cruise ahead on my own but it doesn’t often work like that in Formula One and we really had to work for it today. You can see how close the two teams are and to win like this on strategy with two laps to go is very rewarding.”
“It was certainly not an easy race and I got caught out at Turn 1 and lost the rear which meant I had to go off the track and lost a position to Lewis. I was of course upset at the time but I knew there was a long race ahead and I had to focus.”
“In the first stint I didn’t really have the pace to fight with Lewis so we took the risk to pit first and to be honest I didn’t expect the undercut to work so well that I would come out ahead.”
“They were pushing hard to try and pass me but luckily I could just about stay ahead and I knew I couldn’t make any mistakes. We decided to go for the two stop strategy which worked out well as our car suited the conditions towards the end of the race as the wind became a little less and the track rubbered in.”
“In the end we made the right calls for both cars and it is great to be on the podium with Checo. We should all enjoy this for a few days until we get to Austria and start again.”
This was the first race in which Verstappen and Perez were together on the podium for Red Bull which increased their advantage in the constructors’ standings to 37 points. At the same time, this is the second race this season after Portugal in which Red Bull and Mercedes took the first four places.