Verstappen moved six factors away from Hamilton on the prime of the drivers’ standings after ending second in a moist Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park on Sunday.
Hamilton entered the weekend with a two-point benefit, however was compelled to begin eleventh on the grid after an engine penalty. He recovered to complete the race fifth, albeit after Mercedes opted to threat protecting him out longer on his first set of intermediates to attempt to end even larger, resulting in some frustration over the radio.
Verstappen did not put up any actual problem to race winner Valtteri Bottas, who scored his first win of the yr for Mercedes with a bonus of 14.5 seconds on the chequered flag.
Verstappen felt that Mercedes was “positively faster this weekend” and that Crimson Bull “didn’t get it collectively”, proving that even after regaining the championship lead he would face a tricky problem to win the title.
“Within the moist, they appear to have a little bit of the sting as properly,” Verstappen stated.
“We’ll must analyse in fact why we weren’t aggressive right here, and I do assume they in all probability stepped it up a bit extra.
“Even with the factors lead, it’s not going to be simple.
“I believe I stated it earlier than we even began the weekend, to this point we’ve had a extremely good yr. It’s not going to alter the world for me if I end first or second on the finish of the day. However I’m all the time going to present my greatest.
“We’ll see once more in Austin the way it’s going to go. We gained’t quit, we’ll all the time attempt to do one of the best we are able to.
The Crimson Bull staff cheer from the pit wall as Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing RB16B, 2nd place, crosses the road
Picture by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
“Hopefully ultimately, for the championship, it will be sufficient. But when it isn’t, I’m not going to sleep much less.”
Verstappen had sat inside a few seconds of Bottas at factors within the opening stint, and appeared to realize a bonus by switching to a second set of intermediates earlier than Mercedes got here in.
Mercedes reacted one lap later to make sure Bottas retained his lead, with Verstappen then opting towards charging to attempt to reduce the hole within the closing phases to make sure he stored second.
“Contemplating our entire weekend, being a bit off-pace in comparison with Mercedes, I believe we had fairly a good race,” Verstappen stated.
“There was no level the place I might assault Valtteri, and he was simply managing his race additionally very properly and taking care of his tyres.
“Additionally I had Charles [Leclerc] fairly shut behind me within the first stint, he had excellent tempo as properly. At one level, I stated yeah, the tyres are fairly gone, they have been fully work to slicks, so it was fairly difficult on the market when the observe is prefer it was.
“So we determined to field, and mainly after the cease, 20 laps to go I believe, simply determined to deliver it residence. I anyway didn’t have the tempo to combat Valtteri, so there was additionally no must be inside two or three-tenths to attempt to simply observe him.
“[I] simply saved the tyres to the tip mainly.”