Max Verstappen insists problems with his Honda power unit during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix did not cost him a chance of victory.
The Red Bull driver was complaining early in the race of issues with the torque delivery, as well as commenting on the engine braking performance on Sunday evening. His race engineer told him there was nothing that could be done to rectify the problems, and although Verstappen finished a distant second to Lewis Hamilton, he says the concerns did not prove costly.
“A few little things (were wrong), at the end of the day it wouldn’t have made a difference in terms of position,” Verstappen said. “We had to do a bit of a different strategy to Ferrari of course. They pitted quite early and we went long, because they overtook us on the first lap.
“After that our pace was quite decent, just Mercedes and Lewis, they were just a bit too quick. As a whole, I think it’s been a positive season and of course to be P3 in the championship is a nice ending.
“I just had some torque holes on throttle. There were delays and stuff, so it was not great and we couldn’t fix it, so we drove around the problem. At the end of the day, it wouldn’t have made a difference in terms of the result.
“Just when I go on throttle it’s not doing what I want … It did cost me lap-time – but like I said, it wouldn’t have given me the win.”
And although Verstappen insists there were no points lost as a result of the problem, Honda’s F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe apologized for making the driver’s life more difficult.
“It looks like a PU control issue,” Tanabe said. “We will investigate in more detail but the current investigation result shows it looks like Honda PU control caused that issue.
“We tried to improve it with some different settings during the race after the pitstop. Then the driver compromised the application of the throttle. We are very sorry about the trouble during the race.”