Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Verstappen says Virtual Safety Car period caused by his team mate cost him chance to pass Vettel

2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says he could have attacked Sebastian Vettel for third place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix if it hadn’t been for a Virtual Safety Car period which was triggered by his team mate.

Pierre Gasly came to a stop with a suspected driveshaft failure on lap 39, at which point Verstappen had closed to just over three seconds behind Vettel.

“I was catching up seven, eight seconds over that stint so that was all good,” said Verstappen. “But as soon as we got to the Virtual Safety Car I lost a lot of [tyre] temperature.

“It seems like our car is maybe a bit more sensitive or we’re just not on top of the tyres. I don’t know otherwise we would of course fix that.

“It was a lot more difficult after that. We were just sliding around a lot and around here if you don’t have the grip you can’t take the speed into the corner and you lose a lot of lap time.”

At the end of the Verstappen was almost six seconds behind Vettel. “It was all looking good for us if there was no Virtual Safety Car,” he added.

Verstappen believes Red Bull can make more progress with managing their tyre temperatures, but suspects the Baku circuit made the problem worse. “I think it’s just something on this track where it’s already very slippery,” he said. “It seems like we are just not on top of it yet.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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Posted on Categories 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, 2019 F1 season articles, F1 news

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  • 6 comments on “Verstappen says Virtual Safety Car period caused by his team mate cost him chance to pass Vettel”

    1. This must have been the most boring uninteresting race I have ever watched…
      I give it a 3 only because Ricciardo backed into Kyviat

      1. You obviously haven’t watched F1 for very long

      2. You must not have watched china, the race just before this, I swear this race was above average this year!

    2. It was a very good stint on the medium tyres until the VSC .. he won 8 seconds to Bottas, Hamilton and Vettel. I think RBR made a mistake with the pitstop .. first they bring him in too late to switch to the “better” medium tyre.. Especially Ferrari and RBR where horrendous on the soft tyres for some reason. when Vettel pitted he was less then 5 seconds behind Vettel and he lost another 5 seconds for staying on track with the soft tyres. Also the pit stop itself was not good .. 1 second slower then Ferrari! Max has to work on his starts .. last year his starts were excellent but this year mediocre. Maybe it has something to do with the Honda engine? Anyway he lost a lot of time when he was stuck behind Perez.

      1. @arnoudvanhouwelingen: Max has worse starts as he (and all others) have to manage the clutch biting point and additional release. It’s much more difficult than before and maybe the RedBull honda system is more tricky than some.

        Max has said after the vsc he couldn’t get the tyres back into the ideal temp window. Apperantly this year’s tyres are very unpredictable and have a very narrow operating temp range. So the red tyres probably had too much grip to get them spinning or sliding, therefore it was really difficult to get those in the window.

        1. This year the car can no longer have a programmed biting point. So last year the car would sit at the biting point for a short amount of time before the driver released the clutch handle in a “smooth” motion. Now they need to find and keep the car at biting point and then r lease when the lights go green. So it takes more skill and/ or a smoother system.

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