Max Verstappen will re-watch F1 Qatar GP to understand the strategy scenario as he goes through his race while praising McLaren duo as best on the grid.
It was relatively a close finish for Red Bull’s Verstappen against McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris in F1 Qatar GP with a gap of just over four seconds. It was partly down to the the strategy scenario for the grand prix plus pit stop delay for the Dutchman.
Verstappen reckons the gap maybe should have been a bit more but still he feels McLaren is catching up. “I think it was, overall a good race,” he said. “I think what really made my race was that first stint, where I think we were quite strong and good on the tyres. After that, because we had a bit of a tyre offset, compared to the McLaren, I could drive a bit longer on most of the sets, which maybe in some places, then cost me a bit on the out-lap and stuff.
“So then sometimes the gap looked a bit closer than it should have been. Then on the Hard tyre, I lost quite a bit of time, I think, in the last two, three laps, because I had to get through some traffic. And then I had to slow stop as well to the end. So, then they were very close behind me. But yeah, overall, of course, they have been really quick all weekend.
“So, I think especially with the fuel coming out, it looked like they were again picking up more and more pace, compared to me. Plus, of course, that three stop that was mandatory, I think was not ideal for us, personally. Because our car is good on tyres. So, when you need to do longer stints because that’s the fastest way around here, it would have probably been a bit better.
“But yeah, it was same for everyone at the end that we had to do those stops. We had to deal with that. And yeah, made it also probably bit harder to drive. We had to push quite hard out there,” summed up Verstappen who elaborated on the strategy scenario which didn’t suit Red Bull considering they are better on tyres for longer stints.
This played in the hands of McLaren to close the gap. At one point, Verstappen was asked to speed up as well and it is something that he wants to re-watch the grand prix to understand what happened there and what was happening behind him in terms of strategy. But he credited McLaren while noting them having the best pair on the grid at the moment.
“I think that was on the first stint when most of the drivers boxed, my front left still looked quite good,” said Verstappen. “Yeah, I do think that today didn’t help us in terms of like… our trend is normally long stints and looking after our tyres. This didn’t work for us today, of course, they were too limited, the stints, but I do think at one point, my engineer told me to speed up a bit and we always had the pace to speed up.
“I just have to re-watch the race a little bit to understand a bit more what was going on behind me. I do think we had a bit more pace in hand if we really needed it but nevertheless, I don’t want to take anything away from McLaren. They’ve been doing a great job and from us, we see that they are getting closer and closer. So we have to try and of course maintain a bit of a gap.
“I do think that as a team they are probably the most consistent, compared to the others behind us. And I do think they have the best driver line-up out of all of them. So yeah, they are operating really well. And, yeah, it’s going to be interesting to the end of the year, but also I think the start of next year to see where everyone is at,” summed up Verstappen.
Here’s how F1 Qatar GP panned out