It was cool, says Verstappen


On a day that put the smile back on F1's face, Max Verstappen retakes title lead as Rad Bull strategically out manoeuvres Mercedes.

Surely not even the most die-hard Lewis Hamilton fan would begrudge Max Verstappen and his Orange Army their perfect day on Sunday.

With the grandstands packed with fans urging their hero on since Thursday, to have denied them would have been cruel.

As it happened however, a focussed master class from the youngster, combined with a superior strategy from his team, ensured that almost everyone went home happy.

Without the assistance of his teammate, who started from the pitlane, Verstappen had to take on the Mercedes pair aware that the German team would use Valtteri Bottas to aid Hamilton's chances of causing an upset.

However, other than Mercedes wrong call on the world champion's tyre strategy, two events tipped the race in Verstappen's favour as Hamilton twice sought to undercut his rival.

The first was the decision to switch him to hards on his final stint, while the other was passing Bottas after the first round of pit stops while the Finn was leading having stayed out longer.

"The most important part of the race for us was for Max to make that pass on Valtteri, and he did that quickly," Christian Horner told Sky Sports.

"We were worried about Valtteri backing him up and then Lewis getting the undercut on both of them," he admitted. "That's why it was crucial to get past really quickly.

"After that we were able to just cover Lewis," he continued. "It's tough competition, they are fighting over tenths of a second every lap.

"It was a good race, a fair race... a race like that is never easy."

As for Verstappen.

"It's just incredible," said the Dutchman. "The expectations were very high going into the weekend, and it's never easy to fulfil that.

"Mercedes tried to make it very difficult for us, but we countered them all the time really well, and we can be really pleased with the whole team performance today.

"The fans always have high expectations when you come here," he continued. "They, of course, want you to win, but it's never that straightforward before you get here.

"I think you have seen this whole year already, when Mercedes and us have been really close to each other, and yeah, you have to deliver at the end of the day.

"I'm very satisfied already with pole, but then also to win the race," he grinned. "What was crucial today was first of all the start, and then throughout the race, just managing that gap that they couldn't undercut us.

"It's an incredible feeling of course to win in front of the fans, but also the King was watching with the family. Just an amazing day."

Despite the enormous pressure on his 23-year-old shoulders, Verstappen remained focussed throughout.

"I know that I have to focus on the driving," he said. "That has been quite straightforward but of course naturally there are more distractions, especially when you are on the grid and drive out, there is more of a crowd. I think we are professional enough to just focus on our job once we are in the car.

"The whole race, it was quite close between myself and Lewis," he said. "He was really putting the pressure on, he was putting some great laps.

"I think also after the final stop, I think at one point on that medium tyre, and I was on the hard tyre... but luckily it was enough in the end.

"72 laps around here pushing, it was satisfying, it was cool."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Zandvoort, here.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 06/09/2021
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.