Doornbos sees a huge advantage for Verstappen: ‘That can ensure a perfect start’


Robert Doornbos thinks Max Verstappen has a huge advantage by starting on the softs at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Dutchman himself stated that he initially liked the mediums, but in the long runs the Red Bull Racing did not look bad on the red belt. Even at the start, it can sometimes provide a big advantage, Doornbos expects.

‘This is the best scenario’, Doornbos begins his analysis after qualifying in the Ziggo Sport studio. “You have track position, you have an alternative strategy, so you have red. The advantage of red at the start is the perfect launch and then 600 meters to the other corner. It couldn’t have been a better day for Max and Red Bull. He has done (what he had to do, ed.). In the session improving that car, then the track comes to you.’

‘As you would expect from a second driver’

Doornbos continues: ‘Beautiful words from Christian Horner about teamwork. There he actually refers that Perez really played a nice role in the success for Max, as you would expect from a second driver. He gave him that slip team. Max also motivates that in the rest of his lap, because then you see that delta go down from: this should be it. 50 percent of the job is now done.’

It will be very disappointing for Hamilton. “He comes into the pit box and sees his lap time and Max’s. He also knows that he made a mistake in Turn 5, where he braked. That may be the difference between the yellow and red belt’, thinks Doornbos. “And then with two minutes to go, you have to do it in that last run. Normally you would say: you do a benchmark and then you go all-in on that second run. But it just wasn’t enough for Lewis.’

‘Obviously you’re taking a huge risk’

In the end, it will all make little difference to Verstappen. “He knows how important this is, and of course you’re taking a huge risk by choosing a different strategy in Q2. If you then think in your head: then I start second and I have to use the red belt… But then just squeeze out that perfect lap with teamwork from Perez. Then I understand his euphoria and joy about the on-board radio, this is really unprecedented’, concludes Doornbos.

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