Red Bull were “too slow” to win in Spain – Verstappen

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Red Bull did not have any strategic options to win the Spanish Grand Prix because they weren’t quick enough, Max Verstappen believes.

Despite taking the lead of yesterday’s race at the start, and heading the field for 54 laps, Verstappen said it was inevitable Lewis Hamilton would find a way past him to win as they were “too slow”.

“That’s how you sum it up,” he said in yesterday’s FIA press conference following the race. “There’s not much else to really discuss.

“I tried everything to manage it as good as I could, looking after tyres and stuff, but it’s just not enough when behind you they are just pushing you at [that] rate. You see there’s clearly a bit more pace.”

Verstappen came under pressure from Hamilton at the end of the first stint. The Red Bull driver pre-empted Mercedes’ pit call for Hamilton by coming in himself without alerting his team.

However Hamilton made his second pit stop before Verstappen, and was able to catch and pass him to win.

“You try to keep up with it and do the best possible strategy you can, but even if I think we had gone, let’s say, for that earlier second stop, I don’t think I would have caught Lewis up after that,” said Verstappen.

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“On the mediums I think I was just a bit slower. For Lewis to be that close on a track like this, all the time within a second, sometimes having DRS, it just shows that there was not much I could do out there to make a difference.

Spanish GP review: How Mercedes left Red Bull unable to respond to Hamilton’s victory charge
“Of course you always want more. I think that always needs to be the aim. I think that we shouldn’t be happy with a second place at the moment, but nevertheless, we tried everything.”

Red Bull began the season promisingly in Bahrain where Verstappen beat the Mercedes pair to pole position. Since then he says it’s become clear their rivals have a stronger package on race day.

“It looks good when you are leading for so long in the race but you have to also look to all the things that are happening throughout the race. And I think, overall, we were just lacking a little bit of pace in the race.

“It has been like this a little bit so far this season where it seems like qualifying, we are quite competitive and in the race struggling a little bit more.”

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2021 Spanish 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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33 comments on “Red Bull were “too slow” to win in Spain – Verstappen”

  1. There will be circuits that suit the RB better. Pity it seems the season is tilting towards the last 8 years. Lets hope RB can catch up, despite not having managed that for 8 years.

    1. I can’t see any circuits suiting RB better. Merc was not this quick in Bahrain yet the potential was there, their car just turns so much better than any other, almost no steering lock required. They have ridiculous amounts of grip and their lead towards the midfield on a 1.15 track is staggering.

      1. Monaco, Austria, Mexico, Brazil – Redbull was always dominant here before they were competitive. I am sure they will be competitive on other circuits given the fact how they were in the last races.

      2. @peartree Mercedes has always been super dominant Barcelona and other similar circuits (Suzuka, Portimao, etc). But they weren’t as fast in the other types of circuits so far, Bahrain (Tilke-ish) and Imola. The following 3 races (Monaco-Baku: both street circuits & Turkey: also Tilke-ish) can bring RedBull back into the game. I don’t expect Mercedes to be clearly superior until Paul-Ricard…

    2. It seems Mercedes fixed their problem and it’s true that Red Bull did catchup it seems on the Mediums they are just a tad faster while Red Bull is fast on the Softs in the beginning. On new Softs almost empty car he could bad the fastest lap but that was it.

  2. Yeah always better to say there was noting you could do after you got beaten and that your car was slower after setting a fastest lap 1.3s faster than anyone else. .

    It’s like Hamilton could have said this after getting beaten in Bahrain when he was the “sitting duck”, but then Hamilton did win in Bahrain.

    1. after setting a fastest lap 1.3s faster than anyone else

      As @coldfly has already mentioned (or it might have been @balue I don’t remember), Bottas on older tyres was up 0.205s after the first sector sector on Verstappen’s lap, but he backed off because he encountered traffic. Acknowledging that in your posts would require intellectual honesty though, which is not your strong point.

      Without a doubt, @f1osaurus is the most intellectually dishonest poster on this website by a long way. Just yesterday he made up a lie about how Stroll missed more races than Perez because of COVID. Astonishingly low quality poster to be honest.

      1. @kingshark I did reply. Indeed quite dishonest to pretend that Bottas had only one lap for his FL or that Verstappen being slower in sector one means anything since he was slower in sector 1 in every session. That’s just a setup choice.

        The simple fact remains, Verstappen was 1.3s faster than Bottas on their fastest laps so that makes it quite dishonest to pretend he drove the slowest car.

      2. and yes Stroll did lose out more due to covid than Perez. Stroll already had the issue in Russia and then suffered from it for 3 or 4 races after. For some people it just takes longer to recover than just getting the disease under control. Plus when Perez was going through covid the car was a lot less competitive.

        1. @f1osaurus
          Perez was miles faster than the midfield cars during his comeback drive in Styria. He was also on course for P4 in Austria until the safety car ruined his strategy. Then Hulkenberg puts the car P3 on the grid in 70th anniversary without much preparation. Racing Point was not “less competitive” at the start of the season, that’s an illusion created by Perez not being there, ironically.

          I am aware that you desperately want Perez to be viewed as a bad driver (because that suits your agenda), but the truth is that Perez has always been rated very highly and has many stunning drives with midfield cars. Easily on par with Bottas.

          1. @kingshark Seriously man you are so desperate throwing in everything including the kitchen sink and then ignoring Stroll lost out much more in other situations. Try to be a bit more fair.

            Stroll was in P4 until his season pretty much ended. They both had their bad and good luck up to that point. Really not much more to say about this.

          2. @f1osaurus

            THE WRONG DRIVER IS BEING EJECTED
            – Edd Straw

            If you dig a little deeper than the points table, which shows Stroll well ahead of Perez, it’s clear that despite Stroll’s improved and more consistent performances this season he’s still not as strong as Perez.

            In the six qualifying sessions both have contested. Perez leads the head-to-head 4-2. One of Stroll’s qualifying ‘wins’ was in the wet, where his performances have always been impressive, but he has only prevailed in dry conditions once. That was in Hungary, where Perez was unwell.

            The race head-to-head looks better for Stroll, finishing ahead four times out of five when both have finishes, although at both Monza and Spa, Perez would have been ahead but for external factors.

            The difference at Monza was stark because in the first stint Perez ran fourth and Stroll eighth. The combination of the safety car and the red flag catapulted Stroll into victory contention to the front and left Perez up against it even to score a point. Unfortunately for Racing Point, Stroll turned that shot of victory into third place – a good result on paper, but really a chance missed.

            Stroll has really only outperformed Perez in two races – Hungary and Spain. In the latter, Perez did finish ahead on the road prior to a penalty but Stroll lost track position to making one more stop so there should be no caveat against his finishing ahead there.

            In real terms, eliminating external factors, Stroll has had the edge a third of the time both in qualifying and race conditions. On top of that, Perez was also superior last year and has a more compelling F1 CV even if you factor in Stroll’s youth and inexperience.

            There’s still more to come from Stroll and he is a perfectly worthy and capable grand prix driver, but the improvement curve needs to become steeper to justify this move.

            This was during Perez’s worst run in form. After that he dominated Stroll. He even won after Leclerc crashed into him on lap 1 and send him to the back of the grid, while Stroll (without any bad luck) only finished third after being overtaken by Perez.

            Perez’s drive at Sakhir 2020 is better than any drive in Bottas’ entire career tbh.

      3. ColdFly (@)
        10th May 2021, 8:37

        Indeed @kingshark,
        @F1oClown (seems so appropriate) is one of the most annoying poster on this site.
        Especially since he will never admit a fault and keeps on posting the same pseudo science over and over again. His Ctrl-C-P keys must be all worn by now.

        It’s fun though to wind him/her up every once in a while ;)

        1. @coldfly True, I’ll bet it’s annoying if I give a detailed explanation for why the propaganda you insist on believing is nonsense yes.

        2. He is from a different dimension, so do not hold it against him.
          Fact and Fiction both start with a F and there his confusion starts..

      4. @kingshark If Bottas is that fast, one wonders how he managed to finish some 30s behind the race winner and hasn’t finished ahead of Verstappen for nine races (excluding DNFs).

        1. @scbriml

          Bottas is fast, but relatively poor at tire management. That’s why his race pace is so poor, but his quali is quite good.

          1. @aapje Just as Verstappen is fast, but relatively poor at tire management. Compared to Hamilton at least. Plus Bottas is actually better at quali than Verstappen.

          2. @f1osaurus

            You seem to assume that their cars are equal. There are pretty strong indications that the Mercedes used to be easier to drive and naturally a little easier on the tires.

          3. @aapje Bottas and Hamilton are driving the same car yes. So why is their tyre management different?

            People like Peter Windsor compare driving styles and notice that Hamilton is using a better style taking less out of the tyres.

            Verstappen also has relatively good quali pace and less race pace. If Verstappen manages to get a proper lap together in Q3 at least. It’s really not that dissimilar from comparing Hamilton vs Bottas.

          4. @f1osaurus

            You were comparing Max to Lewis & Bottas. You can’t just assume that Max is worse at tire management or quali, when the cars are different.

            The possible driving style(s) depends on the car. See Vettel with the blown diffuser vs cars with less rear grip. We see that Russell adapted to the Merc very easily, while Gasly, Albon and Perez seem to have a lot of trouble with the Bull. This suggests that the old Mercedes was more easy to drive.

            Note that Mercedes themselves have said in March that W12 was then much more difficult to drive than W11.

          5. @aapje Well Verstappen is worse at tyre management than Perez and he’s brand new to the car too.

            Verstappen is driving lines and handling the car in a way that’s taking more out of the tyres. This is something analysts can see. So it’s VISIBLE that his driving is worse for tyre management.

  3. For me, it seems quite evident that the Red Bull and Mercedes are fairly evenly matched in qualifying, however, the Mercedes clearly has an advantage in races. You can’t just sit 0.9-1.2s behind your competitor at a track like Barcelona for 30-odd laps without having a significant pace advantage. It was the same in Bahrain as well, when Hamilton was able to sit within 1.5s of Verstappen for the whole first stint and was able to undercut him. The number one rule of leading a race in this era is to be outside the undercut window of the car behind. If Red Bull could have pulled 2.5 seconds on Hamilton, trust me, they absolutely would have.

    The Bahrain race itself should have been a warning sign. Red Bull had the optimal strategy with the 2 stop going on medium-medium-hard, while Mercedes had to basically settle for a less ideal strategy including going 29 or so laps on one set of tyres. And yet, Max only caught up to Hamilton with a handful of laps left, which should have been an ominous sign as to the race pace of the Mercedes.

    For future races, I expect Mercedes to probably dominate in Monaco and Baku, however, there comes a run of five races in Istanbul, Paul Ricard, Austria, Silverstone and Hungary where I expect it to be close once more. At least in qualifying, but again, I expect races to once again be dominated by Mercedes.

    1. Exactly right about the Mercedes pace in dirty air. It’s simply the faster race car and it is such a shame that some people (thankfully not too many of whom visit this site, and some of whom are actual journalists!) are determined to shout that Hamilton’s talent is bending the laws of physics.

      What we have here is two of the best drivers in the field going head to head in closely matched cars. Four 1-2s shows that they are operating at a different level. But you can see from the relative performance of Bottas that the Mercedes is the faster car. Verstappen is doing as much as he can to tilt the races in his favour, but Hamilton knows he has the car advantage and is experienced and talented enough to make it count.

      1. +1

        Bottas is a very average driver. In clean air he does OKish but his racecraft in traffic is so poor. Losing Wheel2wheel battles . Whether it was being stuck in midfield in Imola. Whether it was being overtaken in portimao by Lewis. Whether it was being overtaken by Lec in Bahrain and Barcelona. Just so poor.

        The fact that he is so far ahead of Perez (an equally average driver) underlines the superiority of the Merc. Max cleaning up all his teammates 1 by 1 over the past years is suggesting he squeezes every bit of performance out of that RB

        1. @trib4udi I think Bottas is a better driver than Perez, but neither is top tier.

          The issue of the poor performances of the second RB driver is a direct consequence of the car and entire team being built around Verstappen.

      2. seems like bottas cant follow a ferrari that closely thats 1s a lap slower though.

        1. @f1fan-2000 Seems like Bottas can’t stay in front either when he does manage to lead a race from the grid.

        2. Because he is an average driver with poor racecraft. It’s amazing that Lewis allowed Bottas to take so many poles and race wins in the Merc dominated years.

          1. I wonder how much of that is because Lewis has a tendency to lose focus, and when he’s not under pressure it happens more often? He’s been able to win at 50% effort for most of the Mercedes era, and knows he would always beat Bottas in the end.

            This season he’s been at maximum effort every weekend. He’s been trying so hard he’s gone off the track a couple of times, which we haven’t seen for a very long time. It’s also returned his best points haul yet for the start of a season.

  4. Davethechicken
    10th May 2021, 15:29

    If Red Bull had pitted max for softs around lap 50, he may have been in with a shout. His soft tyre pace was much quicker than Lewis was doing on the 20+ lap old meds and he was lapping 2secs faster. He would have been 10sec behind on brand new softs. He could have cruised right up to Lewis and overtaken. Remember by the end of the race Lewis had little tyre left too.
    Max wants to believe his car is slower and he couldn’t have won because the alternative doesn’t compute.

    1. +1

      Shhhh @Davethechicken! Let Max and his fans believe their own made up stories and cope with the loss.

    2. Maybe he’d have a shot indeed, but on the other hand: Max was only lapping 2 sec quicker because he only had to do 5 laps on his brand new softs. If he’d gone in at lap 50 he had to do 16 laps and overtake both Bottas and Lewis to win.

      Plus the laps that Max did that were 2 sec quicker were about the same as Lewis did when he was catching him.

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