Max Verstappen believes Red Bull “maximised” its result with a second-place finish at the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix after encountering engine issues throughout the weekend.
Despite being thwarted by mapping issues that led to power drop outs in his Renault-powered Red Bull car during qualifying, Verstappen turned in a breathtaking lap to secure a front-row start and outqualify Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
The Dutchman revealed his engine-related issues continued throughout Sunday’s race, as he struggled to get off the line at the start and immediately came under attack from Vettel, losing the position on the long drag to Turn 7.
Verstappen regained second place during the pit stop window thanks to clever strategy from his Red Bull team as he emerged narrowly ahead of Vettel when the pair ran wheel-to-wheel at the pit lane exit, after his engine appeared to stutter upon leaving his pit box.
He closed in on race-leader Hamilton when the Mercedes driver got caught up in a backmarker squabble, but ultimately was unable to challenge for victory as he claimed his best result since winning July’s Austrian Grand Prix.
“I think we maximised the result with the problems we had with the engine which was a shame, because I was very happy the safety car was gone because I was almost stalling on the track so even my pit stop was not great,” Verstappen said.
“It was not a perfect getaway, but also behind the safety car it was almost bogging down, false neutrals, so a lot of problems but still very happy with second.”
Renault’s well-documented engine deficits to F1 rivals Mercedes and Ferrari have continued to frustrate Red Bull this season, prompting the Milton Keynes to take on Honda power units from next year.
“You can clearly see we miss top speed,” Verstappen added. “But from there on the team had a great strategy so we could get back into second.
“Basically we did our own race, tried to follow Lewis a little bit and at the end we knew second was going to be result so you just bring it home.”
When asked by Channel 4 about his engine issues, Verstappen joked: “It was still sick today so I am going to slap it tonight, or put it on fire.”