Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Hungaroring, 2019

Verstappen: Being passed by Hamilton was “no big disappointment”

2019 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says he wasn’t disappointed when Lewis Hamilton overtook him to win the Hungarian Grand Prix because he knew it was inevitable.

Hamilton gained rapidly on Verstappen before passing him with three laps to go as the Red Bull driver was struggling on old tyres.

However Verstappen said his team did the right thing by not pitting him for a second set of tyres after Hamilton did. “It wouldn’t have made sense because I would have been behind him,” said Verstappen. “So then you know the race is lost anyway.”

Verstappen said his “only option” was to stay out and try to go quickly enough to stop Hamilton gaining on him by a second per lap. “Of course at one point I started to run out of tyres, trying to keep up with Lewis’s pace on those medium tyres, trying to keep it within a second was almost impossible.”

At that point he knew Hamilton was going to pass him. “I ran out of tyres and of course you can see it coming. So for me it was not a big disappointment once he passed me because it was just a normal thing to happen.

“But anyway we have to be realistic, he was just clearly faster today. Always I think I was struggling a little bit more for grip than him. He could keep the pressure on.

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“Of course when you are in second you can gamble to do a two-stop. For me it was about trying to cover him or stay ahead. With a two-stop, worst case scenario you stay second and best-case you overtake me so that’s what they did today.”

Verstappen believes he would have kept Hamilton behind if the Mercedes driver hadn’t made a second pit stop.

“I think on the first tyre he never really had a shot. We were still competitive in the last sector. Then when we got onto the hard tyre, also with the traffic, because of that he had a few goes at me because I couldn’t do my normal lines in the last few corners and he caught up with that.

“Then of course with the defending I tried to do it as good as I could. Luckily I could stay ahead and then he had to manage his brakes and engine a bit. But he could see clearly once that was sorted he closed the gap again.

“I think if he would have stayed on that one-stop I could have kept him behind. But once he’s on the medium then you know it’s going to be really hard.”

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30 comments on “Verstappen: Being passed by Hamilton was “no big disappointment””

  1. A two stop strategy definitely wouldn’t have worked out for him. The gap to Hamilton was too small, and coming from behind and overtaking is much harder for Verstappen in today’s situation.

  2. That Redbull is strong. I predict very strong results (P1 or P2) from Max at Mexico, Singapore and Brazil.
    For Redbull to finish 1 minute ahead of both Ferrari shows how much they have improved since the start of the season.
    This race Redbull and Mercedes were very evenly matched.
    Hoping for a great second half of the season with regular Lewis VS Max fights.

    1. VER is about 70 points behind though. With only 9 races to go that’s a big, big gap.

      I suspect that in a race or two after the summer break, Lewis will simply stop fighting VER so hard. He’ll start to think about the championship and conserve his points lead, robbing us from exciting racing in the process and gifting Max a few more wins.

      1. VER is about 70 points behind though. With only 9 races to go that’s a big, big gap.

        @jeffreyj agreed, but just being in a position to be taken somewhat serious as a campionship contender is a big deal. I guess nobody was expecting RedBull in their 1st year with Honda to be as close half-way down the season. Many people were certain they would fight closer to the midfield than at the top guys. If not for Gasly’s poor form, RBR would have been ahead of Ferrari, which was never feaseble in their Renault era (post 2014).

  3. This weekend Red Bull car was fairly close to Mercedes, but pole position was purely thanks to Max’s superdrive. In the race Mercedes tried everything and in the end Max had no chance to withstand Lewis’s onslaught. Red Bull could have called Max to the 2nd pitstop before Lewis did his 2nd pitstop. It would be interesting to see if Lewis would stay out or not. After the 1st pitstop Lewis’s tyres were 6 laps fresher than Max’s and Lewis was faster than Max, so for Max in case of his 2nd pitstop it could have been much harder to catch Lewis in the end of the race. Great race, anyway!

  4. If Max had pitted with 10 laps to go, when he had a 10 second lead , he would have come out on softs 8 seconds or so behind Hamilton with 10 laps to make that up.

    By this point hamilton had already taken some life out of his tires, so there was every chance of Max making up that
    8 seconds. Im sure the delta the softs has over the Mediums, would have given Max that advantage. The only
    question would have been the traffic 8 seconds behind Hamilton which he would have come out into.

    Max’s old Hards, left as a sitting duck, when they fell away with 6 laps to go. Of course no one could have predicted that.

    1. If it was bottas then yea this would have worked, Hamilton is better in looking after his tyres so he would have held a decent buffer till the end.

    2. Having the fastest lap shows that the car had pace and the limiting factor was the tyres. It was only inevitable that Hamilton with his pace advantage would pass Max. So, even if it means conceding track position to the eventual second place, it would have been a great chase.

  5. I was wondering if Verstappen couldn’t have managed his tyres a bit more. Verstappen was trying to keep pace as much as possible with Hamilton, but wasn’t that too much of an ask for his tyres? At the end he went over the cliff and therefore Hamilton suddenly came up behind and past in a matter of 1 or 2 laps.

    Probably it would have been better for Verstappen to eek out 4 more laps of tyre life. Hamilton would have had maybe one or two laps at the end of the race, but overtaking is near impossible on Hungaroring anyway and Verstappen would have stood a chance of keeping Hamilton behind.

    Last year, Bottas kept the much faster Ferrari’s behind him for plenty of laps.

    1. Good point. Although, I believe a rain in FP2 and shortened FP3 affected the ability to know for sure how long these tyres would last. We cannot blame Red Bull, because they had very limited options, because Mercedes were a bit faster and could pressure Max during the whole race.

    2. @f1osaurus I think the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix is a good example of how tire management should be done when defending against a competitor on fresh tires. In that race, Vettel was catching Hamilton after his second stop, but Hamilton gradually increased his pace and managed to stay ahead. I think Verstappen at least could have tried something similar.

  6. Shame for Max, he fully deserved the win but was let down by RedBull not covering that Merc stop.

    1. I don’t think that Max is saying the same as you.He had track position and it would have been unwise to surrender that.

      1. ooops, sorry about the bold

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      5th August 2019, 12:11

      Just curious, how could they have covered the Merc stop? The only way I can think of doing that is if both drivers pitted on the same lap but Lewis would not have boxed if he had seen Max boxing. Then Lewis would have been out in front with Max 20 seconds behind. Lewis’ fresher tyres pace might have allowed him to keep P1. If they both went into the pits together, it’s possible that Lewis might have passed Max in the pits.

      1. Nah to the last statement, red bull is not ferrari, they can do 2 sec stops!

  7. Credit to LH. Covering 20 sec gap is no joke. Even if the Merc had the speed, LH took to the car to its limit and caught up with 3laps to go. MV was good but LH was better. Also hats off to strategy team, they pitted Lewis even though he was complaining. Interesting race, season is back alive after its early monotonous start. Also I think Charles should have been penalised. His manoeuvre really cost VB.

  8. Max has a big mouth. He got schooled by the best driver.

    1. Are these stupid comments really necessary?

      1. Well they say more about the writer than they do about the subject under discussion, huh?

    2. Since when was Alonso in this race?

  9. It was great. He was starting to think too much about himself and was being less respectful than he should about Hamilton’s feats and habilities.

  10. lewis’s drive was epic. catching vers up. not settling for 2nd. good tussle between the 2. and yes a masterclass in tyre and speed management. but as i said lewis seems to set his car up more for the race than quali.

  11. How soothing was it to watch the Dutch brat have to eat his words on such sort notice? I certainly enjoyed it! Oh and the best part was that ironically he was right, because let’s face it the fastest car won. Verstappen got lucky after the first pitstop when traffic gifted him with precious help in form of the DRS when he needed it the most when Hamilton’s tyres were at their prime. But the inevitable did happen.

    1. That’s what I like to see, KP, respect for the skills of a young driver who gave a 5 (6) times champion a good run. (ps. I’m a Lewis Fan of many years standing, he also had to put up with a lot of ‘put downs’.

    2. Which words is he eating again?

  12. I think he was disappointed, but that would have been softened by the fact that he’d have known it was going to happen. I suspect he’d come to terms with it as the gap closed. He knew he wouldn’t hold Hamilton off in the endand therefore it simply became a ‘bring it home’ task.

    So, yeah I think he was disappointed a little. But he’ll be looking at the positives. He set pole, beating the Mercs and Ferrari’s. He led nearly all the race. He made no mistakes that I saw. He set the fastest lap in the end. He brought it home second, nearly a minute ahead of the Ferrari’s.

    And the biggy, he held off Hamilton’s attacks so well, that he forced Mercedes into the gamble. Yes, it paid off for Hamilton, but the fact that they had to make it speaks volumes about Max.

    He’ll be looking back and whilst he’ll be disappointed about missing out on the win, he’ll be bouyed up by the positives.

    1. I agree, well said. RBR/Honda is clearly getting better and better and this result only shows that more is coming for RBR and Max in the near future.

  13. Clearly Hamilton only won due to his superior car and not his drive. ‘Shambleton’ sounded like a nerves wreck on the board radio, questioning every call and strategy. Though the red bull and honda engine have improved it is still a stretch to consider them on equal footing. So only making the pass in the final laps shows the deficit in his skill.

    And to all the Max haters… please don’t get your panties in a twist.

    I thorougly enjoyed the race, the fight and respect between Verstappen and Hamilton. If this is the new f1 we are up for treat. Let the boys do the talking on the tarmac and not the fans in their comment wars.

    1. Clearly there are still people with great empty spaces inside their skulls in place of their brains…

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