Singapore Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says that the race at Marina Bay served as a wake-up call for his team.
Red Bull were expected to be particularly strong in Singapore, with the circuit similar in characteristics to Hungary and Monaco – both venues where Verstappen challenged strongly for victory. With their horsepower deficit not crucially important, and downforce being king, it was expected that the RB15 would fare well in Singapore.
However, Red Bull looked slightly lacking throughout the entire weekend. Mercedes, as expected, were at the front but it was Ferrari who sprung a surprise by seeming to leap ahead of both Red Bull and Mercedes – particularly unexpected given how badly Ferrari were defeated by Hamilton & Verstappen in Hungary at the beginning of August.
Verstappen led Red Bull’s charge by qualifying P4 on Saturday before coming home in P3 on Sunday – another man to benefit from the undercut as he pitted on the same lap as eventual winner Sebastian Vettel. Emerging ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen then shadowed the leading Ferraris for the remainder of the race but never looked capable of taking them on for victory.
“Not good enough.” was Verstappen’s summation of the race afterwards. “We came here to win and clearly didn’t. Yesterday I think was worse than today but I would say it’s a little wake-up call.”
“From Austria onwards, it’s maybe our worst race in terms of performance, where we expected to be really good. I have a few ideas why it went wrong so we will analyse all of them and see if we can already be better in Sochi. The layout is not that amazing for us but you can clearly see if the car is working through corners or not. I think here, clearly, in too many corners the car was not working like I wanted it to. We’ll go home and see what we can do better.”
Having come under pressure from Lewis Hamilton again in the closing stages, Verstappen explained that he was concentrating on getting his older Hard tyres to the chequered flag without burning them out: “My tyres were going off a little bit but I think it’s quite normal. His [Hamilton’s] tyres were seven or eight laps better than mine and with seven laps to go I didn’t have any problems so it really started to be with four laps to go and then you could see he was closing in so I just had to make sure I had good exits out of some crucial corners where I knew he was going to be quick.”
“We managed to do that. I guess the people in the garage were a bit more nervous. I was just focusing on getting good exits.”