Verstappen: We were fully in control, very disappointing

max verstappen after baku accident

Lady Luck abandoned Max Verstappen when victory in the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix seemed a sure thing until a Pirelli tyre blowout ended his race with the finish line and podium in sight.

But today would not be the occasion of his 13th Grand Prix victory, instead, he goes home empty-handed with the only respite being the fact that Lewis Hamilton blundered himself out of a podium and points too with an error when the race restarted.

Until the blowout, Red Bull were in control of the race with Verstappen in command at the front, Sergio Perez doing the wingman thing to perfection, a one-two beckoned until it didn’t.

Despite all this, Hamilton and Mercedes dropping the ball too, Baku will be a dead rubber as far as the drivers’ championship goes.

Speaking to Sky F1, Verstappen said after the race: “All fine with me – the car not so much. We had a very strong race, matching lap times I had to do behind. We were fully in control, it’s very disappointing what happened.

“I didn’t feel anything up until the moment that I suddenly went to the right, the tyre just blew off the rim and it’s not a nice impact to have, it’s quite a dangerous place to have a tyre blowout at that speed.

“Up until then I think we had a very strong race, I was basically matching the lap times that I had to do behind and we were fully in control.

“We lost out on a lot of points, we could have opened up that gap in the championship as well. So to have this happening, especially so close to the end is very frustrating.

“It is what it is; we’re still leading the championship despite hitting the wall,” added the Red Bull driver who leads Hamilton by four points heading to France for Round 8 in two weeks.

With Lance Stroll also suffering a similar Pirelli blowout earlier in the race, the Italian tyre manufacturer will have some slick damage control to bag this latest bout of bad publicity.

But Verstappen is not confident the real reasons for the tyre failure will emerge from Pirelli: “You’ll never get the straight answer on that.

“It’s a tough one because it was an easy race. We led comfortably and we controlled the speed over the others. I tried to match the others and before the safety car the gap was starting to get bigger, despite the fact I wasn’t really pushing.”

As for Hamilton’s off and a welcome dose of good luck for his championship ambitions, Verstappen revealed: “I was laying on a bed [in the medical centre], and they were checking my blood pressure.  My phone was buzzing, and I saw Lewis went straight in Turn 1. My blood pressure was fine even with that text!”