Verstappen recounts tumultuous Spanish GP win

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has shared his view of the tumultuous Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix which saw him off the road in the early lap.

Verstappen won the race from team-mate Sergio Perez despite his off-track excursion and a battle with George Russell through the middle part of the race.

His path to victory was eased when Charles Leclerc retired, while a compliant Perez allowed the Dutchman to claim his third victory of the 2022 campaign.

“A bit of a race with two halves, because the first 30 laps were very frustrating for me after I went off,” the Dutchman explained.

“I didn’t feel like I was actually braking later or throwing more speed into the corner, 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.”

While no damage was done, the off did drop last year’s world champion from the wheel tracks of race leader Leclerc to fourth behind the squabbling Perez and Russell.

“Then, of course, I dropped back behind George and Checo [Perez] – 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.

“But then as soon as I was attacking George, my DRS stopped working all the time on the main straight.

“That was extremely painful,” he added.

“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.”

The intermittent DRS issue made Verstappen’s life difficult, and though he was once able to find a way by his Mercedes rival, Russell immediately countered and reclaimed the spot.

Rather than carry on in that vein, Red Bull pitted Verstappen and bolted on a set of soft compound tyres.

Using the pace advantage the fresh rubber afforded, coupled with the inherent advantage the RB18 has over the Mercedes, the undercut proved successful.

Once the pit sequences had shaken out, complicated by a mixture of two and three stop strategies employed up and down the field, Verstappen was a clear second behind Perez with Russell third.

For the second time in the race, the Mexican again moved aside for his team-mate, effectively handing him victory in the process.

While still battling with Russell mid-race, the opportunity presented itself for the pit wall to return the favour, though it opted not to.

“In the first stint, when I let Max by, I was told that I was going to get it back,” Perez said.

“We knew we were on different strategies, so when I was back on it, I felt like I could have gone through and probably give a better shot at my strategy to make it work.

“It still is a great team result, the season is still very young, and I think the momentum in the team is great,” he added.

“So we just have to discuss a few things internally, but there’s nothing that I’m concerned of.

“If anything, I can say that the atmosphere in the team, the momentum we’re carrying, it’s tremendous, like no other team.”

Perez, who sits third in the drivers’ championship standings, 25 points down on Verstappen who now heads that table.

The Mexican, on a one-year deal with Red Bull, is also out of contract at the end of the season and has voiced his desire to continue with the squad.

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