Max Verstappen says Red Bull need to review the decision to bring him into the pits shortly before a Safety Car period during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.Nyck de Vries came to a stop at turn six. The Safety Car was summoned after Verstappen pitted, allowing his team mate Sergio Perez to change his tyres with minimal time loss and jump ahead of Verstappen.
Perez went on to win the race ahead of Verstappen, who came second. However he believes his team should have noticed De Vries’ car was damaged and the Safety Car was likely to be needed in order to recover it.
“I saw that there was a car stopped, I thought he maybe just locked up. In hindsight, I mean I can’t see that, but it’s something to review.
“Clearly you could see there was one wheel damaged and it looked like he was not going to drive that anyway back to the pits, even if he would have reversed. So it’s something to look at because, of course, that then did hurt my race after that.”
Verstappen’s lap times had begun to slow shortly before he pitted. However he said his team should not have taken that as a prompt to bring him in.
“I was not entirely happy with the balance, but also in hindsight, I was probably not pushing it enough initially in some corners,” he explained. “But that should never be the indication that if there is a car stopped, to just pit, because you know that if there is a Safety Car, then you lose even more time by than staying out.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
“So there are a few things to look at. But I always know that the team tries to do the best thing and maybe just today we got unlucky.”
Having lost points to Perez in both this weekend’s race, Verstappen said “the weekend in general was a bit messy, but I think that can be expected with this format.”
“The race day, I think the first stint probably I could have been a little bit more aggressive with the way I was using my tyres. I think I was just too careful. That’s why Checo was still quite close to me. And then of course we made the call to pit.”
Although he was unable to catch Perez over the remainder of the race, Verstappen said he gradually became happier with the balance of his car.
“After the the Safety Car I tried to put the pressure on Checo to try and get into that DRS. I think one time I was pretty close to getting it, but it was just still hanging in there really close, trying to really catch up. I probably damaged my tyres a bit too much early on for such a long stint.
“So then at one point I just settled, tried to do a little bit my own thing, to not damage the tyres completely to the end. But it was just very difficult to have a good balance entry to mid-corner and a lot of the lap time here is about entry to mid-corner to get that right. I was just struggling with oversteer and understeer so the whole race I was just trying a lot of things on my steering wheel to try and get a bit of a better feeling, balance in the car.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
“I actually think that I found a good compromise towards the end of the race because I think my last 10 laps were a lot stronger and I felt a lot happier with the car, how everything was behaving. So I think all in all, I can be quite pleased with second.
“Of course you always want to win but I think sometimes you need these kind of weekends to learn and have a better understanding of the car, what the car needs to go faster. And sometimes on a street circuit like this it really comes out. Like sometimes these kind of things might get a bit masked on a normal track because of downforce and just the general behaviour of the car. So maybe this was a good day to go forward.”
Bringing the F1 news from the source
RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.
By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.
We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below: