Max Verstappen had to make a world start and he did. From seventh position he went straight to fourth place. He didn’t make it through the first round completely unscathed.
“Max had a very, very good start. Unfortunately, his front wing was damaged a bit. It was nothing serious,” Helmut Marko told Servus TV. The front wing endplate was damaged, after which the team told Verstappen not to drive too much over the kerbstones.
Verstappen repaired the damage from his grid penalty within a few laps, but demanded a little more from his tires than under normal conditions: “They wore out a bit faster as he overtook his competitors during the first stint.”
“We saw that when Max attacked, Hamilton countered. Then we decided to keep the gap until the end of the race, so that Max could set the fastest lap time.”
Red Bull experienced tire stress
“Checo was unlucky to have a Virtual Safety Car period, otherwise he would have caught Fernando Alonso. This was the maximum damage limitation for the team,” concludes Marko.
Valtteri Bottas and both Williams drivers suffered a flat tire. Marko acknowledges that Red Bull, which made two regular stops, was also afraid of this.
“Would I have been stressed? We were not able to drive one or two laps longer in certain situations, without the risk being incalculable.”