It looked pretty promising for Max Verstappen, and Red Bull as they headed into the race weekend. Having shone in free practice sessions and indeed even qualifying, it felt like something special was in the offing.
But the 300th race for the Austrian-licensed outfit turned out to be a dampener, much like the track conditions at Istanbul Park. Max Verstappen finished in P6, while teammate Alex Albon secured a P7 in a disappointing team performance.
The Dutchman in particular did not enjoy the greatest of starts, almost crawling with no grip towards the inside. But having recovered to P2 at one point, a small mistake from his end saw him spin off the track.
Verstappen is quoted as saying, “Yeah it’s just very frustrating, to be honest. I tried to follow Checo [Perez] through that kink, and then suddenly I just massively washed out, you get onto the green bit – big spin – trying to keep it out of the wall. Of course, I flat spotted the tyres.”
The conditions did get slightly better nearly 20 laps into the race, when the track started drying up a little. But on the whole though, the solitary drying line meant that overtaking was not as easy as it was made out to be.
“Around here there’s only one line in the dry and in the wet so you have to follow them exactly. It’s just driving in a train to be honest. It was just a very annoying, frustrating race – it was definitely one to forget.” concluded Verstappen.
Red Bull looked quite strong with their qualifying pace, despite many others struggling with the treacherous conditions. But the race did not pan out as per their expectations at all.
In hindsight, Max would have felt that starting in P2 did not necessarily represent a failure. Having got up to compete with Stroll and Perez, there was a chance for him to even win the race.
But, the occasional mistakes here and there, did not let both Max and Albon attack the podium potentials. As the Dutchman himself said, both the team and its fans would want to put behind the race and now focus on Bahrain.