Sunday, May 19, 2024

“The competitors behind us were pushing hard and closing the gap” – Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen overcame the early shock of losing the lead at the start of the British Grand Prix to claim his eighth victory of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season on Sunday.

The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver started from pole position but found himself overtaken heading into turn one by the resurgent Lando Norris, although it only took him a handful of laps to make use of his DRS and reclaim the advantage at the front.

Verstappen had to contend with a safety car intervention midway through the race at Silverstone, and although he was not able to pull a significant gap on those behind, he secured another win, his sixth in a row, to further increase his advantage at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.

“I’m very happy that we’ve won here again, 11 wins in a row for the Team is pretty incredible, the whole Team can be proud of that,” said Verstappen.  “It definitely wasn’t straightforward today though, we had a bad start which made it more exciting for the fans, but we definitely need to look into that improve on it.

“Lando and Oscar [Piastri] were super quick at the start so it took a few laps to pass them and to start to pull a gap. The competitors behind us were pushing hard and closing the gap so we need to try and find a little bit more.

“Overall though, a very nice Team win and hopefully we can carry the form to Budapest for a repeat performance of last year!”

“It took me longer to come through the field than I would have liked” – Sergio Pérez

Team-mate Sergio Pérez was able to make up nine places from his starting position to finish sixth, however, the Mexican knows his weekend could have been a lot better had he qualified better on Saturday.

Pérez had struggled in the mixed conditions of Q1 on Saturday afternoon and was eliminated in Q1, the fifth consecutive race weekend he has failed to break into Q3.  He was promoted one place on the grid thanks to Valtteri Bottas’ disqualification, but it was still only a fifteenth-place starting spot.

The start of his day was not helped by running wide at turn one on lap one, and he admitted it took him longer to clear those in the midfield than he was expecting on Sunday afternoon.

“I gave it my all today but I was expecting a bit more,” said Pérez.  “We had a bad start and then I got stuck with Esteban Ocon, had to go wide and ended up losing a few positions at the start.

“From there on I made progress slowly and recovered a few places, but it took me longer to come through the field than I would have liked. We also pitted a few laps before the safety car which was unfortunate.”

Pérez says he will take some time in the Red Bull simulator post-race to understand what went wrong and to go through some things he feels will benefit him going forward as he seeks to get his season back on track.

“Tomorrow, I am going to be working with the Team in the simulator,” added the Mexican.  “We have some ideas on what we can improve on and I am confident that this will help us work through it.

“I have full support from the team, I’m mentally very strong and I know that I will overcome these issues and turn around my season. The pace is there and I can still get back to where I should be.

“I am looking forward to Hungary and getting back on good form.”

Sergio Pérez finished sixth after starting fifteenth – Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images