Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says he is feeling frustrated after a late-race tyre failure denied him a win at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as well as the opportunity to extend his championship lead over title rival Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen led for much of the 51 laps before a sudden left-rear puncture speared him into the barriers along the start-finish straight which just a handful of laps remaining.
Verstappen was on the verge of losing control of the helm of the standings, before Hamilton locked up at Turn 1 at the following restart, which pushed him down the order and out of the point-scoring positions.
As a result, Verstappen retains a four-point advantage over Hamilton in the championship, however the Dutchman admits he would’ve liked a bigger margin as he expects Mercedes to be strong at the upcoming, non-street circuits.
“I didn’t feel anything up until the moment that I suddenly went to the right,” Verstappen said. “The tyre just blew off the rim. It’s not a nice impact to have. It’s quite a dangerous place to have a tyre blow out at that speed.
“We lost out on a lot of points, we could have opened up that gap in the championship as well, so to have this happening, especially so close to the end, is very frustrating.”
“Mercedes will be very strong on the normal tracks. They had some difficulties on the street circuits but as you could see also in Barcelona, they were mighty quick in the race.
“So there are still a few things we have to keep on our toes and we have to keep pushing hard because they have a good car even though sometimes they don’t say it, they do.
“We just have to keep on pushing. It’s a shame, I wanted to open up the gap a little bit more because we go back to those kinds of tracks. It is what it is. [I’m] still leading the championship which I didn’t expect when I hit the wall.”
Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez took his first win for Red Bull on Sunday, allowing Red Bull to gain 25 points on Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship.