Max Verstappen says he “didn’t have the tyres” to launch a second attack on leader Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain after ceding track position following his initial move.
Verstappen, on fresher rubber, reeled in Hamilton through the closing stages of the race and passed his rival around the outside of Turn 4.
However he exceeded track limits in doing so and subsequently relinquished track position along the back straight.
Verstappen remained within close proximity of Hamilton during the final few laps but was never again close enough to seriously threaten for the lead.
“It just showed again that track position is super important, even when you think you have the better tyres,” said Verstappen.
“I was closing quite comfortably but when I got close to Lewis, with how the wind was today in those critical low-speed corners, I just had no grip.
“Of course, still better grip than Lewis but not enough to make a difference.
“It was just impossible [after the first move] anymore to really go for it, I was always just too far behind. We will analyse what we can do better. Clearly today showed track position was key again.”
Verstappen also dismissed suggestions that he could have waited longer before handing back the lead.
“If I would have let him by later then it’s an unfair way of giving the position back right because then you’re so close and it’s an easy DRS pass so I had to do it after Turn 10,” he said.
“It was super hard to follow, I got into Turn 13 and I had a big oversteer [moment] and from there onwards I just didn’t have the tyres anymore to attack.
“Of course, my tyres were 10 or 11 laps younger but with these cars, that advantage goes away very quickly once you get within 1.5s and like I said before, the wind and the direction it was – it wasn’t helping.
“With these cars, the last few years, it is very important to have track position and we gave that up today.”