Max Verstappen says he gave up trying to fight Valtteri Bottas for victory in the Turkish Grand Prix with 20 laps remaining as he felt Red Bull’s double podium was the best result it could possible score.
Bottas led from pole position at a track that Mercedes proved particularly strong at this weekend, opening up a comfortable lead around the halfway mark of the race. Despite wet conditions, Mercedes’ advantage was a stable one and Verstappen eventually conceded he wouldn’t be able to catch the Finn as he led home teammate Sergio Perez in second and third respectively.
“Considering our whole weekend being a bit off the pace compared to Mercedes, I think we had quite a decent race,” Verstappen said. “In the beginning I just tried to follow Valtteri but of course we had to manage the tires, so I just dropped back a bit.
“At one point we started to pick up the pace a little bit, also because the track was drying a bit; but there was no point where I would attack Valtteri — he was just managing his race very well and looking after his tires and I had Charles (Leclerc) quite close behind me in the first stint. He had very good pace as well.
“At one point I said the tires are pretty good, like they were completely worn to slicks, so it was very tricky out there when the track is like it was. So we decided to box, and then after the stop, with like 20 laps to go, just decided to bring it home. I didn’t have the pace to fight Valtteri, so there was also no need to try to be within two, three tenths, to try and just follow him. Just save the tires to the end, basically.
“I think it’s very nice to be up here, both of us, especially after a weekend where I think we were struggling a bit for pace. So to still, let’s say, maximize the outcome with two cars is a really good result for us.”
After regaining the championship lead by six points, Verstappen was asked what the most challenging aspect of his race was given the tricky conditions, but joked it was avoiding boredom once he concluded he was unable to fight Bottas.
“To stay awake! No, it was all just about managing the tires, so you were never pushing; to make it to a certain amount of laps and then you box for another set, but I’m happy to be on the podium.
“It’s been close the whole year, and I’m pretty sure again in Austin it will be a good battle with Mercedes so we just have to keep on pushing, trying to improve and then we will see where we end up at the end, but of course so far this season has been really good.”