Verstappen laments late race retirement

2015 Chinese Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen has described his retirement during the closing stages of the Chinese Grand Prix as ‘very frustrating’.

The Toro Rosso driver was on course for a second consecutive points finish in eighth place before a drive train problem ended Verstappen’s chances with just four laps remaining.

“It’s a disappointing way to end what was being a great race,” said Verstappen. “To be running in the points positions but then have to stop the car so close to the end of the race is very frustrating.”

Before forced out of the race, Verstappen had been one of the outstanding performers of the afternoon, pulling off a series of daring and skillful moves on Marcus Ericsson and Daniil Kvyat as the 17-year-old made his way through the field.

“I think the one on Ericsson was quite nice, it was very late braking!,” said Verstappen. “It was good. I enjoyed all the moves.”

It was a frustrating day for Toro Rosso with the team failing to score any points after Carlos Sainz Jr lost a heavy amount of time when he was struck by a temporary gearbox issue. But Team Principal Franz Tost was full of praise for his youngest driver’s performance.

“He [Verstappen] drove very competitively and showed a great performance by overtaking and controlling his direct competitors,” said Tost.

“Unfortunately, with four laps to go, we had an issue with the drivetrain which meant he had to retire. We now have to investigate what the exact reason is.”

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    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    24 comments on “Verstappen laments late race retirement”

    1. Wonder if Daniil Kvyat is considering that next year RBR could decide to promote Max?

      1. I’m not sure if Red Bull can even be considered a “promotion”. They have gone back to where they were in 2005-2008. Vettel should consider himself incredibly fortunate to have joined and left them at the perfect time.

        1. Fortunate, or perhaps, part of the reason they improved?

          1. Then 2014 does not fit with your reasoning.

            1. Rule change?

        2. @kingshark Vettel was promoted to RB in the middle of 2008, by 2009 they have a winning car.

          Even if now RB is looking bad comparing to TR, you can’t bet on them turninga the tables, they have the resources to happen.

          1. It’s not RB’s fault that they are slow right now. Blame Renault until they sort it out then we will know the real pace. I’m not an RB fan, but they certainly have been let down by the engine. TR are using the same engine yes.. but they have not been struck by the same problems yet…

          2. @celeste “Vettel was promoted to RB in the middle of 2008.”
            No he was not. It’s not RBR’s style to change driver mid season. I am sure Kvyat will at least finish the season with Red Bull.

        3. @kingshark Ah, remember 2008 season, Toro Rosso ended the year ahead of Red Bull, but by 2009 tables have turned.

          The thing is Red Bull is the principal team, the flagship. They have the resource to do better, and they will.

          @matthijs bad wording from me, sorry. Why I mean is bassed in Sebastian result form the first part of 2008 (specially the race in Monaco from that year) , Red Bull announced Sebastian will be giving the seat in Red Bull during Silverstone weekend.

          At the time much of the media wonder if Vettel was making a mistake by leaving the Toro Rosso that was beating RB, but now we know how this move turned out.

      2. Would be nice if Ferrari signs him as a Raikkonen replacement in 2017.

      3. Kvyat has looked quite good himself, on the rare occasions his car has worked. All the home-grown RB drivers have talent.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      13th April 2015, 10:44

      Really good performance from the young lad with some great overtakes. Glad Toro Rosso have a relatively competitive car this year so he gets a chance to show what he can do.

    3. If this is how good the guy is at 17, imagine him at 27.

      1. Actually, I don´t have the impression drivers get better with age. They are usually as good as they are on debut, only getting better cars, sometimes fluctuating a bit on form. The only driver on the grid whom I believe has really learned and changed something after he already had his first few races is Grosjean, and that was more about getting rid of a bad habit, a weakness (too many crashes) rather than generally improving on skills.

        That said, if the season continues as it was for them until now, Verstappen is a danger for Kvyat´s seat.

        1. Under normal circumstances I’d kind of agree with you; driver’s skills tend to not change drastically between their debut and 8 or 10 years down the line…but that’s because most drivers are fully-grown adults on their debut. Verstappen’s still a kid, and still has some growing up to do.

          He already looks like he has a level head on his shoulders and he’s not even an adult yet, so I think we could see some changes to his mentality and approach in a few years time

        2. Their raw talent is visible as soon as they start, generally. You can normally see by the way they handle the car, the overtaking, how quickly they adapt to the more complicated F1 cars.

          However, as they age they accumulate more experience, iron out bad habits, and generally become more well rounded racers. This has been visible with most of the top drivers on the grid now. As a quick example, Hamilton thinks more about his overtakes, and has a cooler head than he did as a rookie.

          You can have the most talented rookie out there, but if they don’t mature into their role, they will not become one of the greats.

          I know it’s probably too early to tell, but I can see Verstappen becoming one of the best. I hope he does, hist raw talent has been awesome to behold this season, already. Beyond what I even thought of Hamilton in his first year, or Vettel, or any recent example. He could go very far.

      2. Can he get that much better? For someone so young he is so composed and his overakes are so smooth like Button or Kimi.

        I suppose next year he will have more track knowledge . He really could be the Messi of F1. Maybe he could be in the Mercs next year?

        1. He will get much better in years to come. What he does lack is experience in single-seaters and the ability to set the car up. He will add this to his raw talent i the coming years. That`s where he`s lackng at the moment compared to his team-mate Saintz.

          I`ve been following this kid for a while and he really is something extraordinary when it comes to pure talent. He`s got everything a young Senna had, be it raw speed, overtaking or wet-weather skills.
          In 2-3 years I on`t think we will discuss whether Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel is the best driver in F1. By then I think most will agree Verstappen is. But only if he`s able to continue working and keep level-headed of course. His father was also a great talent in his day but he threw it away by not being willing to ut in th work.

          It`s great to se the emergence of such a Young driver thathas everyting he needs to becom one of F1`s all-time-greats.

    4. To be taken with many a grain of a salt but supposedly Verstappen is already knocking on the RBR door:

    5. “I think the one on Ericsson was quite nice, it was very late braking!,” said Verstappen.

      It looked to me like Ericsson had the racing line, and if there was a collision, which there would have been if Ericsson hadn’t taken evasive action, then Verstappen would have been at fault.

    6. That would’ve been a though call. Ericsson had the line, but max was right next to him when he started to turn. They both have a right to be there. I would call it a racing accident.

      1. I think Ericsson must have been going a bit slow, because if he was going at the correct speed then both of them would have run off the track.

    7. Verstappen is looking every bit a future world champion, and I think that it certainly is possible that he will move up to Red Bull as early as 2016.
      However, I think many people are writing Kvyat off too early. I read a little snippet in a Sky Sports article that has made me willing to give him longer to prove himself:

      Kvyat still a slow starter

      Three-nil down in qualifying and seven tenths behind his team-mate this weekend, it has been a difficult start to life for Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull. However, it should be pointed out that Kvyat was in exactly the same position against Jean-Eric Vergne last year, but the Russian finished the season with a 12-7 advantage on Saturdays. Just to stress the sense of deja vu, Kvyat’s deficit to Vergne in China was also seven tenths in 2014.

      Kvyat made a similarly slow start to life in GP3, only qualifying in the top six twice before Spa-Francorchamps and failing to win a race. But something changed during the summer break and after qualifying second in Beligum, Kvyat picked up his maiden win and would take dominant poles for the remainder of the season, converting them all into victories as he clinched the title.

      So don’t write him off yet. Far from telling us that Kvyat lacks the pace worthy of a Red Bull seat, the nascent 2015 season only seems to be confirming that Kvyat is a slow starter. The team’s public spat with Renault has at least taken some of the spotlight off him, but will he get enough time to come good before the pressure mounts from the team and fans?”

      Early on in 2014, Vergne had a large advantage over Kvyat and was leading the qualifying battle. But the balance of power in qualifying shifted progressively towards Kvyat over the course of the season and Kvyat had some great grid positions like 5th in Russia and 7th in Abu Dhabi (5th after RB penalty). Vergne still tended to look stronger on Sundays, but by the end of the year Kvyat was looking just as strong then as well, such as in Abu Dhabi (before his car failure).

      Ricciardo is a formidable driver though, so it will take an extraordinary effort for Kvyat to keep his seat in the long-term, as it seems almost inevitable that Verstappen will be taking one of the Red Bull seat sooner or later. My bet would be on Ricciardo to keep the other seat, but Kvyat at least deserves a chance to prove himself.

      1. I’m just looking forward to a race where neither Ricciardo or Kvyat have any PU or other issues, so we can compare them properly on not just qualifying pace but race performance as well.

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