Max Verstappen is somehow relieved that he finished second at the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, as third was the expected result had it not been for Carlos Sainz’s retirement.
The reigning Formula 1 Champion clearly did not have the fire power to fend off the rapid Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, as his RB18 was plagued with excessive tyre degradation, regardless of the compound bolted to it.
The signs of Ferrari’s superior pace began at the end of the Sprint Race on Saturday as Leclerc starting making gains towards the end closing the gap on Verstappen, but enough to win.
Leclerc expressed his confidence of “getting” the Red Bulls on Sunday as he parked his F1-75 in parc ferme at the end of the Sprint, an that was the case on during the Grand Prix.
Red Bull threw everything they had in their strategy armor against Ferrari, but to no avail, as Verstappen was powerless to stop the Ferrari attack, and hung on to second just because Sainz’s F1-75 went out in flames.
“It was better than expected,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1 after the race. “If you look at the whole race, we were lacking pace. There was a lot of deg and I don’t really understand why it was that bad.
Verstappen: Losing five points not too bad on a bad day
“It looked like Carlos was also going to overtake me, but unfortunately he encountered engine trouble. At the end, to only lose five points over a weekend is not too bad on a bad day.
“It’s been a bit more tricky than I expected it to be today, but sometimes these things can happen,” the Dutchman added. “There was no grip and I could not manage my tyres like I wanted to because they were degrading a lot.
“It seems like we had a bit of an off-day and they had a very strong day,” Verstappen admitted. “If you look at today, it looks not that great for us, but things can turn really quickly so it’s a bit difficult to tell [if the season is going to the wire].”
Speaking later in Red Bull’s post race press release, Verstappen said: “We were just a bit too slow today, we were doing the best we could with the strategy but the Ferraris were extremely fast.
“Of course, we need to understand why we had so much degradation with the tyres, I’m not sure exactly what happened, no matter which compound we used none of them seemed to work well.
“Although we didn’t win today, we still walked away with a lot of points. In difficult moments you need to score points and we did that today,” the 24-year-old pointed out.
“It was incredible to receive the support I did from the fans this weekend, but I’ve been hearing a few shocking things,” the Red Bull driver said abusive fan behaviour that was reported over the weekend.
“It’s clearly wrong and what’s been happening is not right at all – I shouldn’t need to say this on a weekend that should be a celebration of Formula One at our home race,” he concluded.
Sergio Perez: I gave Russell all the room I could
Sergio Perez had a day to forget at Red Bull’s home race, as an early contact with Mercedes’ George Russell put him on the back foot at the start of the race, after which the team soon retired his car.
Christian Horner said: “There was so much damage to his car from George that there was no chance for him to score any points and we had to retire him and save the mileage.”
Perez added: “It was a big shame that we had our race ended so early. I had the whole race ahead of me and I thought I had good opportunities coming my way, so it was very painful.
“We had a lot of damage to the car and we were going nowhere so we had to retire,” he revealed. “I gave all the room I could to George on lap one, there was enough room for both cars not to crash and unfortunately, we ended up colliding, I don’t know what else I could have done.
“Today has hurt us in both Championships and hopefully we can recover the ground. It has been the same way all season, sometimes we are quicker and sometimes Ferrari are.
“It is still very close but today they were clearly the quicker car. We need to look forward now, the season is long and hopefully we can come back stronger in the coming weekends,” the Mexican concluded.