Max Verstappen was left really worried by a brake fire on the grid for the Sprint at the British Grand Prix and didn’t know if his car would stop for the first proper corner.
As the grid formed, Verstappen’s front brakes were smoking and before the lights went out some large flames could be seen emerging from the left front. Verstappen managed to make an excellent start to jump Lewis Hamilton before Turn 1, but admits he had concerns when he hit the brakes for the first time.
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“I was really worried,” Verstappen said. “A little bit of fire is OK but at one point it was becoming quite big and I was just looking in my mirror to the guys at the back, I was like ‘please speed up, speed up…’
“I was not sure going into Turn 3 that my brakes were going to work but luckily it didn’t do too much damage. I saw a few people in the grandstands taking pictures when the brakes were on fire so for sure they have a good few shots there!”
Although he had the advantage over Hamilton in the Sprint, Verstappen says he was pushing hard over the 17 laps and is expecting a close battle on Sunday.
“I think what we learned today is that it’s very close again. It’s a bit different. It seems like we’re quite quick through corners, they’re quick on the straights this weekend. After only one free practice session, and then you’re not allowed to make any changes and you don’t get it right, you’re a bit stuck; so we’re a bit stuck on the straights. That’s why we have to make up the time in the corners.
“It seemed like in this more or less flat-out race — you cannot really call it flat-out, but at least pushing more — the pace was all right but I still expect it with the pit stops coming into play…who knows? It’s again going to be a good fight.”
Despite securing pole position in terms of the record books as he will start the grand prix from pole, Verstappen believes Hamilton should have been credited with it for his performance on Friday.
“Friday didn’t feel more enjoyable because for me, personally, qualifying is where you should get pole position and of course Lewis was ahead there. You jump out of the car and it does mean something but not the real hype that I nailed the lap and I put it on pole or whatever.
“When I crossed the line today after this race and they were like, ‘Yeah great job, pole position,’ it feels a bit like… I did one-third of a race distance and then to hear you got pole position for tomorrow, it’s a bit odd. We will go through it. I guess everyone has their own opinion about things.”