Max Verstappen has explained his experience of the French Grand Prix after coming away victorious to continue to lead the driver’s standings.
The Dutchman secured the 13th win of his career after an impeccable overtake on the Mercedes in the hands of Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap this afternoon.
Another race-long battle for the win kept spectators on their toes, while a smart pit from Red Bull for fresh medium tyres on lap 32 gave their leading driver the advantage in catching his closest competitor in the Mercedes.
Hamilton and Bottas both took to the team radio to say they were struggling with their much older tyres, while Bottas lashed out at the team for not taking his advice of a two-stop option.
The pair ultimately both lost positions in the final laps on Sunday, with Hamilton in second and Bottas in fourth at the chequered flag.
The second Red Bull of Sergio Perez managed to overtake Bottas after getting a great run down the backstraight, to land the final step on the podium.
Here’s Verstappen’s take on the French Grand Prix:
“It was certainly not easy. Especially at the beginning I would say was really tricky for me. I had my moment in Turn 1, where I honestly really got caught out. I turned in thinking it was fine and then suddenly I kept losing the rear. I had to go off track and then I lost the position.
“Of course I was really upset at the time but you also have to think ahead. It was still a long race and a lot could happen.
“I just tried to follow. I think it rained overnight and this morning and with F3 driving I think they took a bit of rubber off and it was quite gusty out there today, a bit more wind than yesterday and I think it just took until the middle of the race for us to get back into a nice balance and in the beginning I was just oversteering a lot and it was difficult to really put the power down.
“We had a good out lap on the hard tyre and I got ahead of Lewis, which was very unexpected because I honestly thought I had a good out lap but I thought I would just slot in behind him and then I saw he was coming out of the pits and I had an opportunity to go for it and for eight laps, I don’t know how many laps, Lewis was giving it his all to come by so it was not easy to keep him behind”, Verstappen continued.
“And then of course we opted to go for the two-stop and I was like ‘OK, let’s see if it’s going to work out’, because you never know around here. And also the backmarkers were not making it easy to clear them and gain a lot of time every lap.
“But as soon as I was getting close I could see, of course Lewis on the tyres he was on, they were really worn and there was not much left on it and as soon as I got in the DRS with the top speed and the wing level we chose, let’s see it was a fairly easy pass, but of course also having fresher tyres. It worked out but it was very tight, yeah.”