Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Verstappen: Lost win in Bahrain “is not going to matter” if we have fastest car

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen admitted the Bahrain Grand Prix was a “missed opportunity” for Red Bull, but is confident they will be able to recover the lost points in coming races.

Having put his Red Bull on pole position by almost four-tenths of a second, Verstappen was beaten to victory by Lewis Hamilton following a number of setbacks during the race.

Verstappen said he “wasn’t really surprised that they were so close in the race” after losing to Mercedes by an even smaller margin than his qualifying advantage. “I think they didn’t have the perfect lap in qualifying. And they are very close, even though sometimes they don’t say it, they are very close.”

According to Verstappen, failing to win the race was: “Definitely an opportunity missed but if we have the fastest car, then it’s not going to matter because then we have 22 races to finish in front of them.

“But we’ll see about that. Like I said, this is not Bahrain. Maybe there was a one-off, but I hope of course not. I have a good feeling that it will not be.”

The Red Bull driver was “battling with a few issues” during the race, and said it was not one of “the smoothest” for the team.

“So we definitely can do better than what we showed there. But on the other hand, for sure, they can also do better.”

Following the race, Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko said Verstappen had a power loss from his engine and lost time due to floor damage.

“I think my floor, it was fixed before the race, so that was all good,” Verstappen explained. “I did have a problem with the diff in the beginning, but that was fixed after a few laps. But that was just giving me a lot of inside wheelspin in the first few laps. For sure that is not great on the tyres because I felt a lot better once we put the other set on for the second stint.

“Then, when I was basically getting to Lewis at some point, we did have to make some changes due to the engine, which didn’t help the top speed. So we definitely could have done a better job.

“But I’m very confident that everything is fixed anyway for this weekend.”

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2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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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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13 comments on “Verstappen: Lost win in Bahrain “is not going to matter” if we have fastest car”

  1. Seems a fair and level headed take. Let’s see what this weekend and the other 20 races bring then!

    1. @bosyber Yeah to me so interesting and compelling to hear Max utter the words “they are very close,” when for years it has been, from all teams about Mercedes, “we hope to be closer to them this year.” Much to come this season and it’s going to be a blast.

      1. Yep @robbie first time for him I guess, and though Red Bull has been there before, that wasn’t with these cars, right!

        1. @bosyber For sure he hasn’t had a WCC/WDC car yet, and the 2014 rules changes shut RBR’s dominant run of 4 years like a switch.

          1. 2014 rules change were known in 2011, so it did not shut down their dominant run as they’d only won one championship double then.

  2. I have to stand corrected on something where I thought the diff issue nagged him all day, but it was pointed out to me in discussions after the race that that was not the case, and that it had mainly affected him in the first stint, and I argued that a bit, so good to hear straight from Max that after his new set of tires, and I presume setting changes, it was ok. Still makes one wonder though if he hadn’t had that wheel spin initially taking something away from his tires in his first stint, his lead would have been greater and Mercedes wouldn’t have been able to get LH ahead after those first stops. And after all, he was able to reel LH in. All the best this weekend Max.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      15th April 2021, 16:57

      These are the ifs and buts moments that championships hinge on.

      If only…

      1. @andyfromsandy For sure. If is the biggest word in the dictionary.

    2. Hi Robbie, if without the diff issue and engine tuned down, I reckon he should have won the race by leading 20 second, that’s how much monstrous advantage of Red Bull with Honda engine was leading the current competition.

  3. Wait, Max needs a faster car than Lewis to win? I thought Lewis only won because he has a faster car. Max is supposed to win even if he doesn’t have a dominant car. I’m confused.

    1. Psssst… don’t tell anyone. That logic only applies to Lewis.

  4. It always confounds me to hear drivers/teams talk how the early races aren’t as critical as the later ones or that them losing points to their main rivals isn’t really a big deal, that they’ll make up for it in the next races or later on. How is that even remotely true? A win in the seasons first GP is worth 25 points, exactly the same as the seasons last GP. If Max were to not win the WDC title this year by few points, then a win in the Bahrain GP instead of 2nd place would’ve made a life changing difference. You can’t make up for losing points to anyone. It’s not like anything RB will go on to do this year will take away the extra points that Mercedes gained over them in the first GP this year. Every GP is as important as any other and losing points in any weekend should be a serious concern to any World Title contender.

    1. It is true due to time. If you have a seven point gap to the guy ahead with 22 races to go, there are 22 chances where you can close that gap. If you have a seven point gap with 2 races to go and you get a result like this, you have a way worse time of it.

      Yes, the points count equally as much, but no, you don’t have to risk ruining your race and get zero points in the first round of the race so you end up with a 25 point deficit instead of 7 points.

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