Max Verstappen credits Red Bull’s strategic decisions as being the key to his victory in the remarkable German Grand Prix.
Starting from second place, Verstappen dropped to fourth on the opening lap and, despite quickly repassing Kimi Raikkonen he was then stuck behind the two Mercedes drivers for the early part of the race. After catching Valtteri Bottas, Verstappen made two pit stops in five laps — one for slicks and then a return to intermediates following a spin — and emerged in the lead as Lewis Hamilton crashed, going on to take the sixth victory of his career.
“It’s always a different feeling, but this was really good,” Verstappen said. “It was very tricky out there — we had to stay very focused, we couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. Now after the race I think I can say that I did that 360 for the crowd, but it was tricky out there, on the medium tires with very low grip.
“The information between myself and the team was crucial today, and I think we made the right calls. That gave us the victory. Also, once I was ahead of the Mercedes cars, you could really see the pace we had because I was stuck in the dirty air in the first few laps behind Valtteri. Once you’re ahead, you can basically save your tires a bit more and everything was basically a bit more under control.”
While Mercedes failed to score — meaning Verstappen is now 61 points behind championship leader Hamilton after scoring maximum points by setting the fastest lap — the Dutchman doesn’t see the result as having any significant impact on his title chances.
“I don’t know, they’re still miles ahead in the championship — still quite a lot isn’t it, more than two victories — and they’re still I think the dominant team. Today was just very tricky out there, easy to make a mistake, as you could see. Today was not their day.
“We managed to do a good job. We still have to work very hard to close that gap and actually really fight for the victory every single race, so still a lot of work to do, but of course where you can it’s good to score more points than them.”