Verstappen felt like "sitting duck" against Hamilton in Spain fight

Max Verstappen says he felt like a “sitting duck” in the fight against Formula 1 rival Lewis Hamilton in Spain following the Mercedes driver’s second pit stop.

Verstappen felt like "sitting duck" against Hamilton in Spain fight

Verstappen muscled past polesitter Hamilton on the long run down to Turn 1 on the opening lap, and was able to keep the British driver at bay through the opening stint.

But a decision by Mercedes to run a long first stint and then pit Hamilton for a second time with 24 laps to go put the seven-time world champion on course for victory in Spain.

Hamilton was able to make up the 22-second gap to Verstappen and overtake for the lead with seven laps remaining, with Red Bull only then bringing its driver in for a second time to go for the fastest lap bonus point.

Verstappen accepted after the race that there was little he could have done to beat Hamilton following Mercedes’ decision to pit him a second time, knowing how big the tyre delta was.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

“In a way I could see it coming,” Verstappen said.

“Already at the end of the softs, he was faster, then when we put on the mediums he clearly had a lot more pace, he could just stay within one second.

“So, there was not much we could have done. They went for another stop and then I knew it was over because I was already struggling with the tyres, and you could see it every lap he was just getting closer and closer.

“[I was a] bit of a sitting duck.”

Verstappen was heard during the second stint of the race calling Hamilton’s grip advantage “insane”, having seen a lead of 5.5 seconds get wiped away to less than half a second.

“When you're in the lead with the cars in traffic and stuff, you don't want to pit in traffic, but of course it makes it a lot easier when you just have a clear advantage,” Verstappen said.

“Of course if we would have jumped for another stop, I'm not sure if we would have caught up again, just really lacking pace. But nevertheless, I tried everything I could.”

Read Also:

The result continued Mercedes’ remarkable record at the Spanish Grand Prix, the team having won the race in seven of the last eight years.

But Verstappen did not take much heart from the fact Red Bull had pushed Mercedes so close, saying it proves the team still has a deficit to recover.

“It shows that we are not yet where we want to be,” Verstappen said.

“We still have to push hard and and catch up, because at the moment we are a little bit slower.

“But still, compared to last year I think it has been a big jump for us.”

shares
comments
F1 Spanish GP: Hamilton outfoxes Verstappen to take victory

Previous article

F1 Spanish GP: Hamilton outfoxes Verstappen to take victory

Next article

Hamilton hails "good gamble" on strategy after Spanish GP victory

Hamilton hails "good gamble" on strategy after Spanish GP victory
Load comments
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021