Max Verstappen says he was pushing so hard in his recovery drive to second place at the United States Grand Prix that he destroyed his shoe.
A driveshaft issue caused by a rear suspension failure saw Verstappen fail to take part in the second part of qualifying, with a gearbox penalty eventually seeing him start from 18th on the grid at Circuit of The Americas. Just like a year ago, Verstappen quickly rose through the field into podium contention and finished a close second behind Kimi Raikkonen as the top three including Lewis Hamilton ran just two seconds apart for much of the final 10 laps.
“A bit unexpected but a good start, a good first lap, and then very quickly we were back into P5, P4 and we could just follow the leaders and we had really good pace,” Verstappen said. “We made the right call to undercut Valtteri (Bottas) and from there onwards we could do our own race.
“I think in the end we could put a bit of pressure on, but unfortunately in the last three or four laps I ran out of tires on the supersoft compared to the guys on the soft around me. But still very happy. I destroyed my shoe; I think I was pushing a bit hard, but it felt good.”
Verstappen admits he believed he could win the race before the final five laps but then was forced to defend from Hamilton, going side-by-side through Turn 17.
“Following Kimi that closely, of course it’s not great for my tires, so I was struggling a bit more with the tires. So then Lewis came close and yeah, we had a few corners where I had to close the door a little bit.
“He tried around the outside — I was on the edge already in the fast corners so I was just sliding a lot. Then I saw also that Lewis ran out of room and then, of course, if you go a bit wide you get a lot of marbles on the tires so it takes like a lap before they have grip again.”
In 2016, having started from 16th Verstappen crossed the line in third but was demoted to fourth by a penalty, and the Dutchman has no explanation as to why he has been able to deliver such strong drives from the back at COTA.
“I’ll have to keep starting from the back here! I don’t know. I enjoy racing, I enjoy overtaking and it puts a bit more pressure on you to do well.”