Max Verstappen says there was little Red Bull could have done to hold off Lewis Hamilton in the Spanish Grand Prix and that the result highlights the fact that his team is too slow.
Hamilton qualified on pole position but Verstappen made a strong move into Turn 1 to take the lead at the start and led for the next 60 laps. However, while Red Bull tried to make a one-stop strategy work, Mercedes went with a two-stopper for Hamilton as he struggled to overtake in the first half of the race, going on to erase a 22-second deficit to cruise by Verstappen in the closing stages.
Hungary 2019, anyone?! #SpanishGP 🇪🇸 #F1 pic.twitter.com/XmP7motoOG
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 9, 2021
“Too slow, that’s how you sum it up!” Verstappen said. “There’s not much else to really discuss. I tried to do everything to manage it as good as I could, looking after the tires and stuff, but it’s just not enough when behind you they’re pushing you and you can see clearly there’s a bit more pace.
“Of course you try to keep up with it and do the best possible strategy you can but I think even if, let’s say we had gone for that earlier second stop, I don’t think I would have caught Lewis up after that, because on that medium I think I was just a bit slower. For Lewis to be that close on a track like this all the time within a second, sometimes even having DRS, I think just shows that there was not much I could do out there to make a difference.
“But nevertheless it’s still of course a good result. Of course you always want more, I think that always needs to be the aim — I think we shouldn’t be happy with a second place at the moment but nevertheless we tried everything. I got ahead at the start so you really try to go for it, and of course it looks good when you’re leading for so long in the race, but you also have to look at all the things that are happening throughout the race.
“I think here we were just lacking a little bit of pace in the race and it has been like this a little bit so far this season. It seems in qualifying we are quite competitive and in the race struggling a little bit more.”
While Turn 1 was the moment Verstappen gained the upper hand, he says the way the team avoids being beaten when leading comes down to raw car pace, after a similar situation in Hungary two years ago.
“The launch was good and I run a little bit less wing, I think, compared to Mercedes. So that helped a bit to get alongside Lewis and then I went for it in Turn 1.
“We just need a faster car. It’s very simple — then you don’t need to get into a situation like that. That’s what we have to focus on.”