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Verstappen: Unfair how Lewis got held up

Singapore Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was Lewis Hamilton’s closest challenger on the streets of Singapore.

Verstappen proved to be the only real competitor to Lewis Hamilton during Sunday’s race at Marina Bay. Having qualified his Red Bull on the front row alongside Hamilton, Verstappen initially lost out on the run down to Turn 6 as Vettel powered past on the opening lap. He said he knew his opportunity to win was gone in that moment: “It was a shame to lose a position to Sebastian so early on but there was not a lot I could do as we were both flat out. I should have been able to hold the line but I just couldn’t match his speed. My only real chance to win was at the start, unfortunately it was a bit all over the place and I knew my chance had gone.”

Staring at the back of Vettel’s Ferrari through the slow opening phase, Verstappen got a little bit of free air when Vettel pitted at the end of Lap 14. Putting in two quick laps while Vettel was blocked up behind Force India’s Sergio Perez, he came back out of the pits right alongside Vettel but held his inside line to nab second place back from the Ferrari: “Luckily the team had me on a great strategy and therefore managed to get me back into second place with a brilliant pit stop.”

Now less than five seconds behind Hamilton, Verstappen was able to close right up on the back of the Mercedes as they caught the lapped traffic of Haas’ Romain Grosjean & Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin. With the pair fighting hard, Hamilton had to cautious as he met them. This allowed Verstappen to get a sniff at getting past, although he said afterwards that he didn’t think it would have been fair if he had gotten past: “When I got close to Lewis due to back markers I never really thought the pass would be possible. It’s hard to overtake here so I didn’t want to take the risk. It was also slightly unfair how he had been held up by drivers not getting out of the way.”

With Verstappen struggling with accessing the low down power of the new Spec C Renault engine all weekend in Singapore, it’s possible that he may face grid penalties in Russia if new parts are required. He explained that the issues mostly happened when his momentum was slowed: “I had a few driveability issues again behind the Safety Car and pulling away from the pit stop was dreadful, but in the end we managed it well and got the result we wanted. After the way the car has felt at certain points this weekend, qualifying on the front row and taking second place today is an amazing result.”

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for FormulaSpy.com - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website. Also working in the Irish radio broadcasting industry. Donations: PayPal - paypal.me/thomasmaheronf1 ETH/ERC20 - 0x9d0b8071180AAcB0bD5f0c1d43281768C73e8763

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