Max Verstappen admits he is perplexed as to why his pace disappeared from Saturday to Sunday at the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.
After securing pole position for the F1 Sprint, Verstappen dominated the shorter race on Saturday afternoon at the Red Bull Ring, and was unchallenged by Ferrari throughout.
However, in the early stages of Sunday’s grand prix, the reigning World Champion came under pressure from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc went on to take the race victory, and the Italian squad was feeling comfortable enough to relinquish track position for fresher tyres on multiple occasions during the race, with Leclerc overtaking Verstappen three times.
Verstappen says he doesn’t understand why he had such a deficit during the race.
“It was a bit more difficult than I expected it to be,” Verstappen said. “Basically on any tyre I was just struggling a lot for pace after a few laps, just a lot of deg.
“It’s something I cannot really explain right now, why it was so high. Because I think normally we are quite okay on the tyres.
“And I expected it to be tough today, but I didn’t expect it to be like this. So it’s just something we need to analyse and understand why this happened today.
“But even on a bad day, let’s say an off day, to only lose five points over the whole weekend is I think still good.”
Verstappen crossed the line in second place, and still holds a sizeable lead in the Drivers’ Championship having enjoyed a dominant stretch in the early portion of the 2022 season. Fans still feel that he is a good bet for taking a second consecutive World Drivers’ title this year with Verstappen’s odds currently sitting at 2/7 on which means you will need to wager $70 to win $20!
The Red Bull driver confirmed that Red Bull “always wanted to do two-stop” during the race in Spielberg, despite Pirelli recommending that a one-stop was the fastest route to the finish.
He added: “I expected them [Ferrari] to be strong. I just didn’t expect them to be this good. And I think we were just a bit down on what we expected today.”