Max Verstappen’s frustrations were felt from the moment his RB16B crashed out of the lead in the final laps of today’s race in Baku.
The 23-year-old Dutchman was in line for the perfect race finish, having led for the majority of today’s battle, until a shocking tyre fault saw him collide with the barriers.
Despite the endless stats and technology at the team’s fingertips, the championship-leading driver said there were no obvious warning signs ahead of the collision, suggesting a fault with the Pirelli tyres.
The team were expecting a stellar 1-2 finish to put them further in the lead of the championship standings, and after a fantastic two-lap battle, Sergio Perez brought home the best possible results from today.
The Mexican driver secured the second win of his Formula One career, and said: “This is definitely a strong boost of confidence for myself.”
Speaking after the race, Verstappen explained his frustrations and said there were no warning signs, with the cause of the accident yet to be confirmed.
“To retire from the lead of the race so close to the finish is pretty frustrating”, he said.
“I didn’t feel anything strange with the car and then suddenly the left rear went and I was in the wall quite hard.
“It’s not a nice place to crash and we don’t know the exact cause yet, I’m sure it will be fully investigated.
“Up until that point it was a great day, the car felt perfect and I was comfortable in the lead so it felt like it would be an easy 1-2 but there are no guarantees in this sport.”
Despite his heartbreak today, Verstappen congratulated his teammate Perez, hailing his efforts in landing the victory.
“Of course I am frustrated from my side not to win but I was very happy to see Checo up there,” he said.
“He did everything that the Team could have wanted today.
“He had a great start and then we both got past Lewis in the pits.
“I heard he had to defend for most of the race, so if I couldn’t win, I’m glad he could. He’s a great guy and a great teammate so it was good to see him smiling on the podium and having his first win for Red Bull.
“It’s a shame that we missed out on the opportunity to make the gap bigger to Lewis today in the championship as we know when we get back to the normal tracks Mercedes will be very strong again but it just goes to show anything can happen and it’s still a good result for the Team!”