Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Verstappen frustrated by “boring” race despite “amazing track”

2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen said it was a “shame” to come to an “amazing track” like Spa and have to spend most of the 44-lap race managing his tyres.

The Red Bull driver and fellow top three finishers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas said they spent most of the Belgian Grand Prix managing their tyres to ensure they completed the race distance making only the single mandatory pit stop.

“On the hard tyre I was trying to follow Valtteri, but then they told him to speed up, so then I lost a bit of ground,” Verstappen explained. “From there, at one point with like 10 laps to go I started to have really bad vibrations on the tyres and then I started to have a lot of understeer.

“So then we discussed do we do a pit stop but I had Daniel [Ricciardo] in my pit stop window so I said ‘let’s just go to the end then and I’ll just manage it’.

“It’s a shame, it’s such an amazing track and then you can’t really push. So it was pretty boring, to be honest. It’s a shame, I really enjoy driving here and honestly we did 44 laps so we probably didn’t like 38 of them managing a lot. So it’s not been the most exciting today.”

All three podium finishers had to contend with a loss of tyre performance in the final phase of the race after running for 33 laps on the hard compound tyres after pitting earlier than scheduled under the Safety Car.

“It’s not particularly exciting, as Max said,” Hamilton agreed.

“It’s a medium-high speed circuit, so there’s a lot of force that goes through these tyres. And, you know, they allow us to do these one stops. Ultimately we lose so much time in the pit stops. It isn’t that exciting to have to manage to go the distance every time. It’s not something I particularly enjoy.”

Verstappen believes that the loss of track position from making additional stops, coupled with the dirty air effect behind other cars, means teams will often opt to stick to single stop strategies, making tyre management more critical.

“They let us do one stop and then also the cars, you know. It’s so hard to follow,” explains Verstappen. “So I think both of them just makes you really push for that one stop.”

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2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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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...
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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10 comments on “Verstappen frustrated by “boring” race despite “amazing track””

  1. I still think it’s odd that “everyone” needed to manage the tyres yet Ricciardo sets the fastest lap on the same Hard tyres that were also 33 laps old (they all stopped at the same time)…

    So not the same for everyone but it would have been exciting if the tyres did fail, like in Silverstone or just forcing them to pit due to severe performance loss, for the top 3. Not a given Ricciardo would have “steal” a win, but it would have made for an exciting finish.

    1. @bakano Somebody had to set the fastest lap and since they all stopped at the same time that somebody also had to be someone with old tyres so it isn’t really odd at all.

      1. The fastest lap is not always set on the last lap. Some years ago it never was as the tyres were used, unless someone had made a late pit stop as we are seeing currently, for the sole purpose of getting the extra point.
        My point with Ricciardo’s lap is that the tyres were still in good shape whilst the top cars’ were not.

        And note that there were other drivers with fresher tyres (and faster, such as Gasly on mediums) so it’s not like the fastest lap would just go to anyone in the end…

    2. Presumably the front 3 were too busy worrying about the tyres blowing to think about setting a FLAP.

  2. Drivers will always want an even faster limit with Tyres, Aero, Engine, etc.
    And then they have the brainpower to wonder why there’s no wheel to wheel racing.

  3. Every year we wet ourselves out of excitement for the ‘propper’ stracks, spa, silverstone, monza, …. yet the fact of the matter is they have been turned into complete carparks and concrete wastelands of abu dhabien dimensions. it hurts a bit.

  4. Mark in Florida
    30th August 2020, 21:46

    This race was a snoozefest courtesy of Pirelli and F1. They made the rules and Pirelli made the garbage that the cars roll on. It’s a grand waste to me of the cars potential. If they had tires that performed like the cars engine’s and the aero it would be a mind blowing experience. Instead it’s a mind numbing experience.Ross fix this!!

  5. What if it becomes mandatory to manufacture a hard compound, slow but reliable? No pit stops.

  6. So max is frustrated with his team then?

    Who is responsible to give him a car to challenge for race win…hmmm….

  7. Start making the drivers stay within track limits and you’ll see more exciting races. Going 10ft off the track to maintain speed it much easier than acctually having to drive the car proper to stay within limits.

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