Max Verstappen says his French Grand Prix turned into a race of management following Charles Leclerc’s exit.
Leclerc fronted Verstappen during the first stint of the race at Paul Ricard but crashed out of the lead shortly after the Red Bull driver made a pit stop.
Leclerc’s crash gifted Verstappen the lead and the reigning world champion held a sizeable pace advantage over the remainder of the field.
Verstappen managed his Hard tyres through the rest of the 53-lap race to chalk up his seventh win of the campaign.
“Once Charles was off then I knew it was all about managing the tyres to the end because the two-stop was just slower because of the length of the pit lane unfortunately, which is a bit of a shame because otherwise it opens up a few more opportunities in terms of racing,” he said.
“But I just gradually increased the gap and I knew the car was good today, we had good pace, so it was all about managing the tires in the end.”
The result means Verstappen holds a 63-point advantage in the championship over Leclerc.
“Of course it’s a great lead but a lot of things can happen,” said Verstappen. “I just want to stay focused, we need a lot more good results, we still need more one-lap pace.
“And also the next race is Budapest, I think that’s going to be a bit more of a struggle for us where I think Ferrari is going to be really, really quick. But we’ll see.
“It’s all about scoring points every single race, even when it’s not your day.”
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