Max Verstappen admits that he is happy that it was not only him who was forced to retire after the Singapore Grand Prix start-line shunt which also eliminated the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, at the same time the Red Bull driver accepts that 2017 has not been his year.
Much has been written about the incident that not only marred the race, but also took out three podium contenders on a circuit which all three had a good chance of winning. Instead the race victory was gifted to Lewis Hamilton who took a commanding lead in the championship standings.
Speaking immediately after the race, Verstappen told reporters, “I am already over it. What can you do when you’re sandwiched? I think that you can see on the footage what clearly happened. I was in second gear and had a better start than Vettel. He looked to his left and wanted to cut me off, but I think he didn’t see that Kimi was still there.”
He added, “If you’re going for the championship, you shouldn’t take that much risk. I am not fighting for the championship; I am just trying to win the race. I don’t think that was a very smart move from them. What do you expect? That I would suddenly hit the brakes? And then they cut me off. They know the rears are much wider than the fronts, so I have nowhere to go.”
“The three of us collided resulting in my suspension getting broken. After that I braked for the first corner. Kimi had no tyres on his car, so he came crashing into me on top of that. Then it’s all over. In the end, I am happy that not only I, but all three of us dropped out.”
“It’s not ideal, but what can you do about it. If you make a mistake yourself and take an off course excursion, that’s something different. I tried to get a good start and saw that Raikkonen had a great start, so I didn’t even try to defend that. It was a long race, but after 200 meters it was already over.”
“It’s of course not my year, and that has been proven once again. You just need to stay positive. It was a good weekend, only the race not so. But we have a good race pace. In Malaysia we need to have a flawless weekend. I am sure that regarding the pace we are alright. I am not sure we can challenge the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers again, but we will see,” mused the Dutch teenager.
Jos Verstappen believed his son had a chance at winning the race at Marina Bay Circuit, “My gut feeling was Max was going to win the race. Max was relaxed as well before the race. There was no tension and he was really up for it.”
But instead the collision cut young Verstappen’s race very short, “The first thing you think is ‘not again’. I’m mainly sad for Max. If you look at the footage, he has a normal start, better than Vettel. Kimi had an amazing start and you see him coming. But then Vettel drives so far to left and to Max. Because Kimi steers a little bit to the right, Max is sandwiched.”
“You can’t blame Max. I think that lies with Vettel. He pulls extremely far to the left and Kimi probably doesn’t see it. He sees Max and wants to defend. Vettel is also fighting for a championship so he should be a bit more careful. I also noticed that the Ferrari drivers are maybe worried as soon Max is nearby. That’s pretty obvious if you their response at the start.”
Verstappen senior concluded, “Let’s have all the bad luck this year so we can start over next year.”