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"A difficult beginning, but a good end," admits Verstappen

NEWS STORY
23/05/2022

Max Verstappen reflects on what one might term an eventful Spanish Grand Prix.

Even without the intense heat, one can imagine that Max Verstappen was happy to get the Spanish Grand Prix out of the way, even more so considering that he now leads the championship.

His afternoon wasn't without its moments however, be it getting caught out by a gust of wind that caused him to spin off into the gravel just 9 laps into the race, a young Mercedes driver giving one of the best performances of his life, a teammate unwilling to yield the lead and a DRS issue with which we can all relate... in terms of the "have you tried switching it off and on again" instructions from the pit-wall.

Despite all this he came through, and, courtesy of Charles Leclerc's demise, leads the championship for the first time as a world champion.

"A bit of a race with two halves," he admitted, "because the first thirty laps were very frustrating for me after I went off.

"I didn't feel like I was actually braking later or throwing more speed into the corner," he explained of his Turn 4 incident early in the race, "but it was very gusty out there today. Like, one lap it all felt stable and then the next lap, suddenly you could have more oversteer in places. So probably that caught me out.

"Then, of course, I dropped back behind George and Checo," he continued. "I was in the DRS train and I tried to pass but my DRS was not always working, so it made it made it very tough.

"As soon as I was attacking George, my DRS stopped working all the time on the main straight. That was extremely painful. Sometimes it would open, like almost halfway on the straight, or not at all. That made me being stuck behind George for 20 laps or something.

"Of course I was a bit frustrated at the time," he admitted, "because I couldn't get (Russell) because of the DRS issues, but the fight itself was really cool also. I think that lap where I did go down the outside and George went around the outside and I was around the outside of Turn 3 again, I think that was a really cool fight.

"I look back at it and I'll smile now," he said, "at the time of course I was a little bit frustrated. But it was a really good and tough battle, I think."

"Checo was so kind to let me by and try and attack George, because I think already we were planning to do two different strategies as a team at that time.

"I tried to stay focused. Of course, it's not nice when stuff like that happens, but at the end I was very happy to win and also very happy for Checo, it was a great result for the team."

Asked about his growing frustration over the DRS issue and the heated radio calls, he said: "I shouted back on the radio, but there is nothing you can do because I mean, I'm not stupid; once you get the light and the activation beep then you press the paddle and if it doesn't open, there's clearly an issue.

"I spammed it like fifty times at one point on the straight and it's just not opening, so there was clearly an issue.

"I tried all different kinds of things: stay off the kerb, on the kerb, open it a tiny bit later... it was just broken or malfunctioning so yes, we clearly have an issue there on this wing."

Despite the win however, the world champion is only too aware that it was somewhat fortuitous, and that Ferrari remains a threat.

"We have to be realistic," he said, "we were off on one-lap pace and in the race, the first stint before I went off the track, Charles was pulling away a little bit.

"Of course, we have the lead of the championship, but you see you have to be super reliable, we have to work on our performance a little bit more. But for now I think this race is very positive for the team."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Cobra Driver, 24/05/2022 10:09

"I agree, hence the label "Moanin' Max". Perhaps I am incorrect but isn't a champion (even a pseudo champion) expected to carry himself with a degree of class?
"

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2. Posted by LiamIII, 23/05/2022 15:06

"What is the purpose of playing the petulant whining from Max on the radio? Are they trying to get more people to dislike him? Mission accomplished. If my child acted like him there would be serious discipline coming his way. What a spoiled brat. "Spare the rod spoil the child" worked for him apparently. "

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