Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Verstappen says Red Bull were “just too slow” to beat Mercedes

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen admitted he was shocked by how quick Mercedes were as he followed the W11s home in third place at the Red Bull Ring.

He dropped back from Lewis Hamilton over the race and lost second place to the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in the final laps. Verstappen eventually finished 33 seconds behind Hamilton, having made an extra pit stop.

The team brought Verstappen in for his first pit stop early in a bid to protect him from Bottas. Asked by RaceFans whether he felt the pit stop compromised their efforts to beat Mercedes, Verstappen said: “No we were just too slow, so you can do whatever you want.

“Pitting early, late or the same, I don’t think it’s going to change the end result. So at the teim I thought we were pitting a bit early. I knew, of course, towards the end of the race I was going to run out of tyres. But it’s what it is. I said on the radio ‘never mind, I’ll just get on with the job’.”

He said Mercedes’ performance advantage over the other cars came as a “shock” to him. “I was just pushing as hard as I could to try and stay with them. But clearly it’s still not good enough.

“The gaps compared to the guys behind were massive. I was a bit shocked. I tried everything I could but it’s still not enough. We’ve still got some work to do.”

Verstappen posted his first finish of the season after retiring from the season-opening race last week.

“To bounce back from zero points last week to a podium now is a good start,” he said. “But I think as a team we want to win and we want to fight for the championship. But if you want to fight for the championship of course you need to win races.

“We need to look into it. I think we were losing quite a bit on the straight as well. So it’s a bit of both at the moment. So we just need to keep on working harder to try and close the gap.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 44 comments on “Verstappen says Red Bull were “just too slow” to beat Mercedes”

    1. The only shocking thing was how slow Albon was

      1. I think Max just drove the crap out of that Red Bull and that makes Albon performance looking bad.

        1. @macleod when you look at the lap times, Albon’s performance is really strange – he’s extremely slow in the first stint, with his times matching those of the midfield pack and being nowhere near those of the leading drivers.

          His second stint, meanwhile, is stranger still – he started off with OK times, then over the next ten laps his times progressively worsened until he was lapping about a second a lap slower than he had been at the start of his stint, whereas Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen were managing much more consistent times lap to lap. He then slowly started picking his pace back up, over the next ten laps, but was still lapping a fair bit slower than at the start of his stint.

          However, when Perez started to pressure Albon at about lap 57, Albon’s pace suddenly improves massively – his next lap, on lap 58, was over half a second quicker than on the previous one, and from that point onwards he was then lapping significantly faster than Verstappen, Bottas or Hamilton.

          Maybe Albon was trying to save tyre life, but his pace was inconsistent in his second stint and his first stint was about a second a lap slower than Verstappen. It was only when he finally started coming under pressure from Perez that he suddenly started to perform and put in competitive lap times.

          The fact that he could put in competitive lap times when he started pushing does also suggest the argument that “Verstappen was driving like crazy” is questionable – because Albon showed he was capable of going much faster as soon as Perez started pressuring him, pointing much more towards Albon underperforming for most of that race.

      2. Pedro Andrade
        13th July 2020, 11:42

        Compared to Gasly’s performance at the same track last year, I wouldn’t say Albon was that bad, although of course he should improve.

    2. I do wonder whether later in the race some of it might have been that bit of front wing, which could have affected the rest of the car on the right side. But, he likely got there by having to push hard to be able to keep it up relative to Mercedes so that’s likely not that much of a consolation. Last weeks qualifying was a big gap but Red Bull thought they knew of an aero-issue they could fix that would bring them closer. Even if that worked, clearly the gap was bigger than it seemed in last weeks pre-SC pace though.

      1. Does anyone know how Max damaged his wing?

        1. It seems like he went into the kerb and the grass slightly, on the inside.

          1. Max checked that side of his frontwing after he went of in Q3, it might already have been weakened by then and when the race started.

    3. Yes, looking to be an easy season for Mercedes ones again

      What a great team this is. Best team ever in F1

      1. Agree with you there, just can’t be happy with how long this team is being able to dominate… not good for F1 as a whole.

        1. @ mcbosch or the team is too good for F1

      2. with the total collapse of Ferrari and the emergence of the Pink Merc on the top (dry) the dices are thrown for 2020.
        It seems only VER can shake and rattle a little..

      3. @anunaki Verstappen broke his own front wing and ruined his own tyres well before the end of the race. He might not have been able to beat Hamilton this race, but he sure should have been easily able to hold back Bottas. Instead he wasted that opportunity.

        Previous race he could actually have won, but his own car broke. How is that Mercedes’ fault?

        1. It amazes me how fans have a different explanation each time Mercedes turns it up….
          Now it’s pit stop strategy of a 5 cm of wing damage…fyi, Bottas did have daage on the car, he downforce was 10 points down (team radio during the race), Verstappen gave him something to fight for….but it took Bottas no effort at all overtaking Verstappen. Strategy…? Mercedes was closing in before the pitstop and closing in after the pitstop….should RBR have risked an undercut or did they what had to be done…?

          RBR is slower than Mercedes, Mercedes controles races!

    4. Unpopular opinion: Albon is being handicapped at Redbull.

      The Redbull Team is so focused around Max (like Schumacher in his Ferrari days) to keep him happy by building the car to suit his driving style. There is almost no chance for Albon or whoever they put in the second car. Gasly tried to bring to light this point during his short period in the team.

      The sheer gap btw Max and Albon is just staggering. I dont believe Gasly and Albon are that bad, esp driving a Redbull.

      1. Unpopular opinion, largely because completely unsupported by evidence. It’s not an evidence, it’s speculation. Or worse, conspiracy-mongering.

        1. I agree there is no hard physical evidence and claims like this can only ever be opinion. HOWEVER… the circumstantial evidence is quite overwhelming. Not enough to prove the point beyond doubt but the accusation remains. IMO VER is not that much better than his last 2 team mates. RIC had the beating of him but since RIC RB have employed youngsters that were so grateful, and perhaps undeserving, that they will play their game. RIC was unwilling to play that particular game and left… to the detriment to his career no less. IMO LUMS is correct. Just our opinions though.

          1. That’s all a bit ridiculous really. It’s not even worth a reply, so I guess that’s on me.
            Why on earth would they handicap the other car/driver? It just makes no sense. RBR and VER would benefit hugely from a more competitive ALB. Just this race proves it. ALB fighting with BOT might have made a second place possible.

            1. They don’t handicap the driver on purpose. They simply see him as an also ran. The car is 100% aimed at what Verstappen likes. Instead of developing a car that both drivers can deal well with.

        2. @hahostolze

          noun – a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

          1. @lums You can’t state that something is the result of favouritism and then call it an opinion. That makes it a statement of fact. You can’t ‘opine’ on something you have no empirical evidence for. That’s like me opining that you are a 55 year old man who lives in Manchester. What evidence is there for that opinion?

            1. @hahostolze
              one does not need to provide facts or evidence to form a personal opinion.

            2. @hahostolze You can state absolutely anything and call it a personal opinion. I can say that Oreos are rather tasteless, but that’s just my opinion. I can also say that Oreos copied another product, but that’s actually a fact…

              That’s like me opining that you are a 55 year old man who lives in Manchester.

              Your opinion would be wrong, but it would still be your opinion. And if you know many 55 year old men who lived in Machester, then compared those people with the comments made by someone here on this site, you would even have evidence. Not hard evidence or good evidence, but evidence.

              Red Bull built a car that Vettel drove like a dream. That’s a fact. It is also a fact that his teammates were unable to drive the car in the same way. However, they continued to develop the car in the same fashion, knowing that Vettel could drive it perfectly and his teammates usually could not. If you believe for one moment that they are going to stop designing a car that Verstappen can drive just because Albon can’t, then you are probably in need of your medicines.

      2. Verstappen had each and every one of his team mates covered….
        He had Sainz covered in 2015, despite the reliability issues, overall Max came out on top
        Ever since Max started to set-up his car from 2016 Spa on the balance at RBR shifted…. Dan was close at first, but the gap became bigger and bigger… in 2018 Dan finished ahead on merit just three times… (Aus, Chi and Mon) in all three races Max made mistakes to allow Dan to be ahead.
        The gap from Max to Gasly and/or Albon is the same…Albon does fight, but is, like Gasly much slower…. Ricciardo may have been a tad bit faster, but surely not much being behind in all races, but Monaco before mistakes or other issues slow down Max.

        Gasly and Albon did have their chances… they set up their own cars, but the gap get’s only bigger, RBR makes them copy Max set-up….it doesn’t help either.

      3. If Albon was a bit faster RB could use him to block Mercedes by driving in their Pitstop windows So only for this reason all would Red Bull give him the same stuff as Max.

    5. 33 seemed to be Max’s magic number today. #33 car. 33rd podium. 33 seconds behind the winner.

    6. 2022 can’t come quick enough!

    7. Well Hamilton was too fast yes, but Verstappen could have had P2.

      Vestappen lost it on breaking his front wing while pushing to keep a large gap to Bottas. Plus tyre management. Again Verstappen ran out of tyres before the race ended.

      If Verstappen hadn’t made these mistakes he could have kept P2. He just gets too rattled when someone is chasing him down. Just like when Hamilton was chasing him down in Hungary last year.

      There is no point in pushing the tyres over the cliff in an effort to keep a gap. Overtaking is not that easy if you’re second a lap slower or less, but it becomes terribly easy if you go over the cliff and suddenly lose 2 to 3 seconds a lap.

      1. I have no idea if the front wing broke due to something Verstappen did, so I can’t pass judgement. But pitting early, then having to run 46 laps on the mediums was all down to Bottas having a faster car and the undercut at an overtake-friendly circuit. I’d love to know how any driver would have done better in the same circumstances.

        1. @hahostolze Bottas pitted well after Verstappen, so the tires were much fresher. Verstappen was gaining ground to Hamilton for some time, and the electronic tracker even said he’d catch Hamilton within a handful of laps, until the radio message of damage on his front wing. So there you go. Had Verstappen pitted later (not his call) or Bottas pitted earlier (not his call) then that alone might have swung the favor in Verstappen’s direction.

          1. @hahostolze @neiana Plus, the very fact that Verstappen was pushing to attack Hamilton was just a dumb thing to do. Or at the very least you can’ t claim “we were just too slow”.

            Bottas tyres were only ten laps fresher. 46 vs 36 laps isn’t that massive a difference. Verstappen had a big lead which he could have used to manage his tyres. Bottas had to push hard to bring down the gap and in the process he was taking life of his tyres too.

            Instead, Verstappen clearly was pushing too hard and in doing so damaged his front wing and ruined his tyres. While he could have brought home P2, but hewasted it and lost out to Bottas as well.

            It’s just very un-sportsmanship like to pretend it’s “just the car” why he got beaten.

            1. @f1osaurus so Hamilton clearly pushed his car too hard and caused all the mechanical failures that lead to Rosberg winning the championship, yes? Do we agree?

            2. @neiana There was never any doubt that damage that Hamilton caused to his own car is his own fault. Just like last year, Hamilton damaged his wing in Austria when he tried to go long and stay ahead of Bottas after Bottas pitted.

              How on earth would that not be his own fault?

              But having 4 engines break on Hamilton and gearboxes and electronics is a completely different story.

              Are you serious even? Since it’s a very dumb remark.

      2. @f1osaurus, you are spamming your fiction on every occasion it seems ;)
        Some facts:
        The tire management by VER is the class of the field. He did not liked to be the first one to stop and his tires had 11 more laps on them then Bottas.
        He probably damaged his front wing pushing.. but that’s just an interpretation. There is no prove for that and no images to support it.
        In hungary HAM had new tires compared to VERs very old tires. he kept them alive for more laps then any other driver, because his great tire management skills but there comes a time they are finished. It was the aggressive strategy that cost him the victory. Driving a much slower car you have to look for other ways to beat your opponent.

        F1saurus: there are a lot of more VER years to come. You will have a very hard time denying his talent and capacity for years to come.

        1. True…Maybe…but only when Lewis retires. “Class of the field”???? Behave yourself!!! This weekend showed he has a way to go to.

        2. Erikje,

          Well the Red Bull was know to be good on the tyres yes. Not just Verstappen, but more so for Ricciardo. Verstappen has never been that good at it. He really should watch Cars the movie.

          In hungary HAM had new tires compared to VERs very old tires.

          That’s not the point. Hamilton would have won if he didn;t make that stop as well. Verstappen ran outr of tyre life 8 laps before the and of that race!!! How bad is your tyre management when you run out that far ahead of the end?

          Verstappen has plenty of talent. The massive difference is that Hamilton is much more likely to maximize a result.

          Verstappen fans always say that if only Verstappen had the fastest car he would do the same as Hamilton and win all those races. The reality is that he has never won in Monaco. Despite having the fastest car there. He didn’t win in Mexico last year. he didnt win in Hungary Last year.

          And then half of the cases where he had the fastest car and could win, Ricciardo too the win. So either he blows his chances by himself or he gets beaten by a team mate (when he still got a fair chance). At least that got “rectified” though. Although lowe and behold the whole team is just not moving forward anymore since it’s a one driver team.

    8. Honda did a lot of talking about taking it to Mercedes this year and yet again fall flat on their face, 33 seconds behind HAM!

      They may well be in a battle for second with Racing Point – with Merc engines and now last last years chassis they are good enough to beat everyone else in the field.
      I think Alonso is right when he says Merc will win this year and next so best to start working on the 2022 car when supposedly the playing field will be more even. How exciting!
      Not to say there isn’t action among “the rest” of the field but it’s not good enough for some including me.

      1. Isn’t it fun to see RB fall flat on their faces! Such a nice team. All the talk of challenging Mercedes…all the puffed chests…what has it amounted to? Horner has ridden the talent of Newey for too long. Now he just comes across as a bitter old man. Shame.

    9. Yup, they were to slow. It was also two against one. RBR need Vettel in that #2 car fast.

      I bet he is faster than Albon.

      1. @jureo Vettel can only perform in a car that is perfectly tailored to his driving style. He cannot deal with equal treatment (see early Webber years, Ricciardo , Leclerc). Let alone that Vettel would work as the #2 driver next to (behind) Verstappen.

        If they actually want the #2 driver to perform they need to work as a team for both drivers and not just Verstappen.

        1. Yes I think you are correct – Vettel was only good in one car. He hasn’t done squat since the year RIC came to RBR and handed him his arse.
          He came close at Red but choked time and time again.
          RBR would be stupid to sign him especially for the money he commands.
          Not to mention what VER would do to him – and I am not a Max fan.

        2. I’ll be damned if Vettel cannot come closer than 30 seconds to Verstappen and atleast threaten Bottas for P3.

          I think he is performing poorly because relations at Ferrari sauered, the care is not much good either. Red Bull however is, and he would perform much better in it. Most probably not on championship winning level, but certainly he has more talent and performance within him, when he is surrounded by a team of good people.

          How good were those relations, if he was let go over the phone, and then there was disinformation, he was offered some contract. One look at Ferrari and one can tell it’s a madhouse right now.

          Vettel saddly cannot cope with that. Leclerc can for now, because he is the shiny new driver, like Vettel was 4 years ago.

          1. @jureo I doubt he will. Vettel can barely stay within that against Leclerc. He was over 20 seconds behind Leclerc at the first race.

            Your excuse makes no sense. So he drives like a mop because he’s sad? Because his feelings were hurt? He has been driving poorly since second half of 2017.

    10. and perhaps before that too, but we have no benchmark really. He looked good in 2015 and 2016 against Raikkonen, but in hindsight that was just Raikkonen being even worse

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