Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Verstappen didn’t think win was possible until last three laps

2018 Austrian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen admitted he didn’t think he was going to win the Austrian Grand Prix until the final three laps.

The Red Bull driver had to manage blistering on his rear tyres in the final laps. Verstappen said he was concerned the Ferrari drivers had more performance in hand to attack him with.

Kimi [Raikkonen] was catching, Sebastian [Vettel] was catching and you were not sure maybe they had another half a second in them at the end of the race, so it was just difficult to say.

“I think with three or four laps to go I was more comfortable and it was not going to happen. But still, maybe from one to the other lap my blister opens up even more and then you’re really in trouble. Probably three laps.”

Verstappen passed Raikkonen at the start of the race and then had the two Mercedes drivers in front of him.

“I saw Valtteri [Bottas] disappearing with a problem, and then I think we made the right call when the Virtual Safety Car came out, that we pitted. The team, again, great call on that.”

Lewis Hamilton didn’t pit during the VSC period, which meant Verstappen was “virtually in the lead.”

Verstappen said he “tried to manage the gap” towards the end of the race but “I could see my tyres also opening up a bit on the rears and the fronts.”

“So I just had to drive around the issue and luckily I could manage it until the end of the race.”

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Keith Collantine
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13 comments on “Verstappen didn’t think win was possible until last three laps”

  1. Deserved win and driver of the day.
    Exiting race with lots of unexpected events.

  2. A great call indeed. Mercedes should’ve done the same, but it didn’t really make a difference after all since Lewis had to retire later anyway.

  3. Fully deserved, great pass on Kimi, great tire managemt and made the most of Mercedes’ tactical blunder, he drove flawlessly today.

    1. Not a great pass on Kimi. Tire to tire nudging is not “great”.

      It was not bad enough for a penalty, and I would even call the contact “just racing”. But I would not label the pass “great”. It was slightly dirty (for open wheel racing), but not illegal.

  4. Jonathan Parkin
    1st July 2018, 21:10

    Can I ask what would have happened if the podium finishers had all retired. Grosjean would have been in the lead but he was a lap down. Does that mean he would have had to do an ‘extra’ lap

    1. Uhh if the current podium finishers had retired they wouldnt have finished, and therefore Grosjean wouldnt have been a lap down.

      1. @Moi

        So the lap counter would roll back a lap to Grosjeans position?

        1. No, he would take the lead at the point where he passes the retired car.
          If they had all crashed on lap 60 at turn 3 while Grosjean was on lap 59, he’d have to complete that lap and then when he passes turn 3 on “his” lap 60 he would take the lead.

          Try imagining it as though the first 3 had just pulled over to the side of the track XD.

      2. He meant “if the top 3 retired during the last lap”

      3. The “lap” is by definition the lap the leader is on. So if he retires, the new lap count is the one the new leader is on, so yes they would do an “extra” lap. (not actually extra, you just do a lap less if you are 1 lap behind)

    2. If the top 3 retired, then at some point Grosjean would have passed their cars on circuit, which makes him the man setting the lap count. I think your scenario would only happen, if they all retired on the last lap, they would probably add one lap to the counter because they can’t declare the end of the race until the leading driver has finished the set allocation of laps.

    3. It’s simple. you keep driving until you see the chequered flag. if the top 3 had all blown up on the final lap the chequered flag would not have been flown until a driver completed all 71 laps, i.e. grosjean.

      you can kind of game the system when you are behind e.g. alonso in bahrain slowed suddenly in order to be lapped so he would take the chequered flag a lap earlier (and thus save the car a bit, save fuel etc). olivier panis did this in the 1995 aus GP at adelaide (his car was dying, belching out smoke and oil) and he actually ended up 2 laps behind the winner damon hill, but still came second. if he’d hadn’t been lapped it was touch and go whether the car would make it to end of another lap.

      1. OFTEN in racing, once the white flies, the checkered will fly next, even if incorrect (due to all lead lap cars retiring…which itself is not altogether uncommon, due to last lap desperation racing). Sometimes this premature checkered is a decision by race director to just finish, but usually it is just because the flag man doesn’t get the clear message in time.

        And the checked flag IS the end of the race. I lost a race once because the flag man missed the last lap, and waived it a lap late, but I saw white lap before, and assumed last lap, and blew it. Always race to the checkered.

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