Max Verstappen knew he had just one shot at Sebastian Vettel
Max Verstappen says he knew he had just one shot at passing Sebastian Vettel, after his attempt at wrestling away third place in China ultimately failed.
Verstappen started from fifth but kept the Ferrari duo in check and used the undercut to force Ferrari’s hand.
Verstappen reeled in Vettel through the Ferrari driver’s out-lap and launched a move into the hairpin, though Vettel fought back and re-claimed the position as they exited the turn.
It proved to be the only wheel-to-wheel action the pair enjoyed throughout the race as Vettel edged clear to claim the podium spot, with Verstappen fourth.
“We planned a good strategy to undercut a Ferrari and stay ahead, so we definitely maximised the result to finish fourth ahead of Charles [Leclerc],” said Verstappen.
“I had a good battle with Seb when he came out of the pits on colder tyres which was good fun.
“That was my one shot and I tried but after that you could see that we didn’t quite have the pace to fight him to the end.
“We still need a bit more pace to fight Mercedes and Ferrari but we are in a good position and collecting solid points each race.”
Vettel added that he gave Verstappen sufficient room as he knew the Red Bull driver would try and snatch the position.
“I saw him coming and the speed delta at the end of the straight is quite big now, so knowing Max as well, I knew that he will try,” said Vettel.
“I was sort of predicting that he would try and go down the inside and try to cut back and it worked.
“I had a bit of a moment in which I had to open the car a bit, but it was good because I just kept nearly a car length ahead and then at the end going into the last corner for him I guess wasn’t sexy so that was good fun.”