Max Verstappen third in Spanish Grand Prix: 'Happy to be on the podium'

Published on 12 May 2019 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen managed during the Spanish Grand Prix to get his second podium of the season. The Dutchman passed Sebastian Vettel close to the start to third position and drove a faultless race, keeping both Ferraris behind him. Close to the end of the race Max lost most of his lead, because of a safety care caused by a crash between Lando Norris and Lance Stroll, but this did not pose a real threat. Lewis Hamilton won the race. Teammate Valtteri Bottas finished second, again a one-two for Mercedes.

“It was a good race”, says Max after the race in Barcelona. “I had a good start, but it was a bit hectic in the first corner. When I saw Vettel and both Mercedes go together into turn one, I backed off, which positioned me well for turn three. That made me come back from P5 to P3. That was good, as it set me up for the race. After which I could drive my own pace.”

Even though both Mercedes are supreme, Verstappen is positive: “The Mercedes were quick, but I was able to drive my own race and we were competitive. The speed was good and I am happy to be on the podium. And we were able to gain some valuable points. ”

Finally Max looks back at the restart and the pressure coming from Sebastian Vettel: “We knew it would be hard to defend with a Ferrari behind me. So I had to use all available power in the engine on the straight, but it worked.” Aston Martin Red Bull Racing has made a step forward again with the new updates. Is it frustrating that Mercedes made an even bigger step forward? “Yes, but they deserve it, they are doing a great job. We have to try to work even harder and improve the car even further.”

It is a little bit after three in the afternoon when the fifth Grand Prix of the season gets underway. Max Verstappen has a good start and passes Sebastian Vettel in turn three on the outside. The Ferrari driver loses his third starting position to the Dutchman, after a failed attempt to pass the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in turn one. Lewis Hamilton also has a very good start and takes over the lead of the race almost straight after the start from his teammate.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly are at the head of the race after the first lap. The drivers of Haas and Toro Rosso complete at that moment the top ten. After ten laps, the race leader Lewis Hamilton has developed a three second lead on teammate Valtteri Bottos. Verstappen (P3) follows the Finn at almost the same distance. The Red Bull Racing driver does a good job at keeping both Ferraris at a proper distance.

Vettel has his hands full with a flat spot sustained in the first lap, and he lets teammate Leclerc pass, as the Monegasque clearly has more speed.

Sebastian Vettel pits in lap twenty for a new set of the medium tyres. Max Verstappen reports to his team one lap later. The Dutchman changes, in comparison with Vettel, to the soft, red tyre and comes out in fifth position after a nice piece of work from the team. Because Verstappen started on the same compound, he will have to make another pitstop.

After twenty-eight laps both Mercedes have been in for a new set of tyres. Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel and Gasly all changed to the medium tyres with the yellow stripes. Only Verstappen (soft) and Leclerc (had) chose a different compound. Halfway the race Hamilton leads with a specious margin. Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc, Vette land Gasly form the top six. The Ferrari drivers are racing a couple of laps, after which Leclerc let his teammate pass, who is on a different strategy.

It is in lap forty-one that Sebastian Vettel makes his second pitstop. Three laps later it is Max Verstappen’s turn. The Dutchman changed to the yellow striped tyres and comes out on track in fourth position. He is at that moment six seconds behind Charles Leclerc, but quickly closes in.

Not long after it goes wrong between Lando Norris and Lance Stroll. The young Brit wants to pass the Racing Point of Stroll at the end of the straight, but is too ambitious, causing both drivers to hit each other. Norris is forced to park his car next to the track, Stroll end in the barrier. The causes the safety car to come out, after which Ferrari decides to pit Leclerc for a set of medium tyres. Causing Max Verstappen to take over third position again.

With fourteen laps to go the field gets underway again. Sebastian Vettel stays close to Verstappen, but the Dutchman stays cool and keeps the Ferrari driver behind during the rest of the race. With this Max gets his second podium of the season and his twenty-fourth of his Formula 1 career. Lewis Hamilton wins the race, in front of his teammate Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari falls short again and sees distance between Mercedes with a fourth and fifth position increase even further. Gasly, Magnussen, Sainz, Kvyat and Grosjean complete the top ten. 

Results Grand Prix Spain:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes661:35:50.44326
2Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes66+4.074s18
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda66+7.679s15
4Sebastian VettelVETFerrari66+9.167s12
5Charles LeclercLECFerrari66+13.361s10
6Pierre GaslyGASRed Bull Racing Honda66+19.576s8
7Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari66+28.159s6
8Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault66+32.342s4
9Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda66+33.056s2
10Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari66+34.641s1
11Alexander AlbonALBScuderia Toro Rosso Honda66+35.445s0
12Daniel RicciardoRICRenault66+36.758s0
13Nico HulkenbergHULRenault66+39.241s0
14Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari66+41.803s0
15Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes66+46.877s0
16Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari66+47.691s0
17George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0
18Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0
0Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes44DNF0
0Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault44DNF0