Max Verstappen relays the though behind push for fastest lap in F1 Spanish GP, as Christian Horner notes about small talk.
For Verstappen, it was yet another win with the only blemish being the Dutchman getting a black and white flag for track limits but he still won by 20 seconds plus. The incidents occurred at turns five and ten where he also took the fastest lap avoiding such moments.
His race engineer had to request him to not push more which could result in a penalty, but Verstappen still set the fastest lap. “I went over the white line three times,” he said. “It happens sometimes. Some tracks it’s a bit easier to do and I was struggling a little bit with the harder tyres to keep it within the white lines”.
“But once I had that last warning then I had to keep it within the white lines. But it’s not an issue really. I kept it within the white lines, I just went a bit faster on the lap for the fastest lap. So I didn’t do anything wrong. They don’t know how much pace I have in the car, right, when they tell me this is the fastest lap, don’t bother, but I knew that I could do it”.
“So yeah, I just had to keep it within the white lines but this is something I think we can laugh about already. I was laughing about it with Helmut after the race so I’m pretty sure that they’re quite happy,” summed up Verstappen.
It’s all to do with confidence and the fact of the matter is, Verstappen led, controlled and dominated from lights out. It was a slightly tough start but he really controlled it despite a bit of a challenge from Carlos Sainz at lights out.
“I think it was important to try to keep the lead in Turn 1,” said Verstappen. “I know it’s quite tight. But actually, we had a very good start. And then from there onwards I just tried to manage the pace on the Medium. I knew everyone behind me mainly was on a Soft, and I think especially in those last eight laps of that stint I could really create a big gap”.
“And then, of course, we went onto the Hard tyre. And I actually expected them to be a little bit better. But somehow, they just didn’t have a lot of grip and I was actually sliding around quite a bit. The pace was still OK, but I couldn’t really create much more of a gap, not how I would have liked”.
“But then of course, we just did the amount of laps we had to do on that tyre and then we pitted again for the Soft and that actually felt a lot nicer to drive,” summed up Verstappen. The team and him decided to start the race on medium rather than soft opposite to what he did last year.
Team boss Horner was at the end of another satisfying weekend with seven wins on the bounce but he notes that there will be some talk about that black and white flag scenario. “He and his engineer have a relationship like an old married couple,” he said. “You could hear them talking over the radio, almost like arguing over which channel shall we watch”.
“Having had three strikes, the next one was a time penalty and if there was a safety car or something like that, that could have been extremely painful. The engineer is trying to manage Max and say, ‘Don’t take any risks, bring it home and keep it between the lines.’ Max, I think he wasn’t aware he was exceeding the limits and he just wanted that extra point for the fastest lap”.
“He’s in the car and he knows. Of course, we’ll talk about it – in a situation where there was more to lose than that then we’d talk about it very firmly. All we can do is pass on the information and what he chooses to do with that information, he’s in control of that,” summed up Horner.
Here’s how F1 Spanish GP panned out