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Max Verstappen second best at the Spanish GP: 'Very good'

Published on 16 August 2020 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen finished second best at the Spanish Grand Prix. On Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Max had a great start, he went from third to P2 as he entered the first corner. After a two-stop strategy, the Dutchman was able to keep Valtteri Bottas at bay and took his fifth consecutive podium. Lewis Hamilton took the victory home in a less than exciting race.

After the race, a happy Max had the following to say: “To be able to split the Mercedes was very good for us today. We clearly didn’t have the pace like Lewis Hamilton, so I am very happy with second place.”

The start was the key for the second place: “The start was crucial to get by Valtteri Bottas. When the lights went out, I got well off the line. Then I had a bit of wheel spin, but I was in a good position so Valtteri wasn’t able to move to the left. So there we did everything right.”

In the beginning Max was able to follow Hamilton quite well, but when the Briton gradually started to increase the tempo, he took off and Max lost sight of him: “Hamilton was busy saving his tyres. I was doing the same, but I couldn’t afford to drop way back because Racing Point was there. At a certain point Bottas overtook the Racing Point and I was not able to drop back further anymore. When Hamilton finally started to step it up and drive his own tempo, you were not able to keep up with him anymore.”

On the radio Max then had a discussion with his engineer about the right time to come in for fresh tyres. The Dutchman shares his views about the incident: “I was telling them for four laps already that my tyres were gone. I realise that then you will get stuck in traffic, but on fresh tyres you are able to overtake them easily. I was afraid that Valtteri would pit ahead of me and try to do an undercut. Eventually we did go in, but to me two laps too late because I lost a lot of time, so that was not ideal.”

Max continues: “After the first stop I drove my own race and needed to watch my tyres. I expected a little more pressure from Bottas towards the end, but quite quickly in the final stint I was happy with my tyres and Valtteri was not really catching so then I felt quite comfortable.”

Despite the good result, Max remains realistic regarding the coming race on Spa-Francorchamps. “We keep trying to improve but the other ones keep pushing also. When you are that dominant, in two weeks’ time that won’t change. I am for sure very realistic. Last week we won, but you cannot immediately start shouting that we can now fight for the championship. I am not expecting to win on Spa, but if we keep continuing like this, we can grab some decent points. So we’ll see.”

On a scorching Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the sixth Grand Prix of the season gets underway. Max gets well off the line starting from third on the grid. Entering the first corner, he has already overtaken Valtteri Bottas and is second. Even Lance Stroll overtakes the Finn, while Hamilton manages to retain his lead from pole. The entire field comes out unscathed after the first lap.

Bottas passes Stroll on lap five to take third, while Verstappen is able to slot back in with Hamilton during the beginning of the race. The gap between them remains about a second and-a-half.

From lap eleven onwards, Hamilton starts increasing the tempo and is slowly pulling away from Verstappen. On lap eighteen, the difference is about five seconds when we hear Max report on the radio that he is struggling with his rear tyres. Alexander Albon, Max’ team mate at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, is the first driver to come in for a pit stop. He switches to the hard compound tyres and rejoins in sixteenth.

Max comes in on lap 21 for his first stop. After a lightning 1.9 second pit stop, Verstappen rejoins in third on a fresh set of mediums strapped on to his RB16. On lap 24, both Mercedes pit. Hamilton retains his lead, despite a fumbled stop, while Bottas slots back in behind of Verstappen.

Charles Leclerc spins out as he exits the chicane due to a technical issue on his car on lap 37. The Ferrari-driver is able to continue on, but parks his car moments later in the pits.

Max comes in for his second stop on lap 42. On a new set of mediums Max rejoins in third, some eighteen seconds behind of Bottas. The Mercedes-driver does his second stop on lap 49. The Finn chooses a set of the softs and slots in behind of Max, some eight seconds adrift.

In the closing stages of the race, Max is able to stay ahead of Bottas quite easily. He finishes the race in second place and secures his second place standing in the championship. Hamilton takes his fourth victory of this season unopposed, while Bottas rounds out the podium and can also add an extra point for the fastest lap in the race. Both Racing Point-drivers Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez trail considerably when taking the flag in fourth and fifth. The Mexican crosses the line in fourth but is demoted to fifth on the timesheet due to a five-second time-penalty for ignoring blue flags. Carlos Sainz takes sixth, while Vettel comes in seventh with a one-stop strategy. Alexander Albon, Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris complete the top.

Results Grand Prix Spain:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes661:31:45.2790
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda66+24.177s0
3Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes66+44.752s0
4Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes65+1 lap0
5Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes65+1 lap0
6Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault65+1 lap0
7Sebastian VettelVETFerrari65+1 lap0
8Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda65+1 lap0
9Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda65+1 lap0
10Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault65+1 lap0
11Daniel RicciardoRICRenault65+1 lap0
12Daniil KvyatKVYAlphaTauri Honda65+1 lap0
13Esteban OconOCORenault65+1 lap0
14Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari65+1 lap0
15Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari65+1 lap0
16Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari65+1 lap0
17George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0
18Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes64+2 laps0
19Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari64+2 laps0
0Charles LeclercLECFerrari38DNF0