Cleaner races a goal for Verstappen in remainder of disrupted 2020
Red Bull's Max Verstappen wishes for more clean races like Sochi as he approaches the end of the 2020 F1 season.
The result for Verstappen in the F1 Russian GP wasn't particularly spectacular. A beneficiary of the penalties applied to Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, the Dutchman was never a true threat to the eventual race leader, Valtteri Bottas, and at no points did he display truly race-winning pace.
Nevertheless, Verstappen delivered a good result, bagging 18 additional points for himself and his team, that too on a track where Red Bull has had no podium finish. He did so by avoiding the myriad of lap-one incidents, also avoiding the multitude of five-second and ten-second penalties that were bestowed upon his adversaries.
Saturday and Friday were also without contretemps for Verstappen, who enjoyed a calm weekend wherein he emerged closer to the championship leader than he had been heading into the race -- even at a track where he expected a poor result.
"That’s how it should be every single weekend [where it is clean]," Verstappen said. "So, of course it was not good, the last two weekends and I think now, to be back on the podium and in second, I think for us is a great result on a track where normally we are not that competitive and we never scored a podium before as well.
"So, I’m very happy with that. The race itself, the start was pretty bad but it was just so low grip on the inside, the righthand side, it seemed like everybody had a really poor start. Even then during the race, the first lap I had a bit of a battle with Daniel to get back into third and I had a nice off-road experience through the bollards so… nice.
"And then for there onwards, on the Medium tyre it was just not really having a great balance. A bit like I had in Q1 and Q2, where I just couldn’t push the entries of the corners and I couldn't’ keep up with them. So, just tried to not lose too much time.
"Then once we pitted, put the hard tyres on, everything was a bit more stable and a bit better balanced. I was pleased with that. The second stint was pretty OK. Very happy with second," summed up Verstappen, who had been briefed about changes from Honda, following his third retirement at Monza.
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida and edited by Darshan Chokhani]