Max Verstappen commented on his result in the sprint race in Brazil. The Red Bull driver only finished fourth despite starting second behind Kevin Magnussen.
Verstappen decided to use Pirelli’s medium hard tires in the short race at the Interlagos circuit. At the same time, everything else (except Latifi) had the softest mixes.
It was a gross and unexpected strategic error for Verstappen and Red Bull. The Dutchman was slightly delayed at the start, but managed to maintain his position. Already at the start of the third lap, he easily dealt with Magnussen’s much slower car. Verstappen tried to open up a gap to Russell but just didn’t have enough speed.
Midway through the sprint in Sao Paulo, the two-time world champion was getting slower and slower. Although he fought to the last, he was passed by George Russell on the long straight before turn #4. A few laps later he was caught and overtaken by both Sainz and Hamilton. The Red Bull driver had contact with his Ferrari rival which resulted in a piece of his car’s front spoiler breaking off. The Dutchman will still start from third position in tomorrow’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix due to Sainz’s penalty.
Verstappen doubts he could have fought for victory even with a full front wing.
“They [Мерцедес] they seem invincible. Now I will analyze everything and see why I was so slow. I would have finished fourth anyway, even if I had a whole front wing,” explained Verstappen.
“It can’t get any worse than this. It’s also disappointing that I have little contact with Carlos. Although the touch was quite light, it broke my end plate and a bit of the wing structure which [се отчупи].”
“[Състезанието] it was a little more difficult than we expected. I didn’t imagine having such huge tire degradation Even with the soft compounds we wouldn’t be fast. Apparently we had problems with the tire management. It’s definitely something we have to try to fix for the main race,” added the Red Bull driver.
At the same time, Sergio Perez finished in fifth position in the final sprint of the 2022 season. The Red Bull driver started with softs, but also lacked the expected pace. On the penultimate lap, he asked his team on the radio if he could ask to swap positions with Verstappen. In the end, there was no response from Red Bull. So Perez was behind Verstappen at the checkered flag.
“Tomorrow will be the most important race. Then we can earn the most points. So we have to work as a team and get as many points as possible for our championship. This is the most important thing for tomorrow’s long race,” said Perez.
Like Verstappen, Perez was also quite surprised by Mercedes’ pace in the sprint.
“Yes, they were very, very strong today. To be honest, I was quite surprised by them,” added the Red Bull driver.
Plenty to work on tonight but we’ll come back fighting tomorrow 👊 pic.twitter.com/5GPTM4nk82
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) November 12, 2022