Max Verstappen and Red Bull worked well together during the Grand Prix of Russia, as a result of which the Dutchman eventually took second place. However, it turns out that it is not so easy to stay in touch with your own team as an F1 driver during rainy conditions.
During the Russian GP, the rain only fell in the final laps and in addition, certain parts of the track saw significantly more rain than parts of the track. As a result, the F1 drivers played a crucial role in making the right tire change decision. Max Verstappen also had to let his team know if he wanted to make a switch to intermediates, but that turned out to be no easy task.
“When you drive on slicks and it starts to rain, the driver’s feeling determines when a pit stop has to be made,” Verstappen said.
“Communication plays a vital role in these conditions and that’s why the team kept asking me if I wanted to come in. Still, it’s not so easy to answer in rainy conditions, for example, I had a hard time finding the radio button on my steering wheel, because I was busy keeping the car on the track!”
Initially, Verstappen wanted to stay out as long as possible, because his lap times still allowed it. That didn’t last long, though, as it started to rain harder and harder.
“The lap before I went into the pit, I told the team I wanted to stay out. At that point I was only losing about eight or nine seconds per lap. In the lap we went in, the situation changed. I had to pull out all the stops to stay on track and then of course I immediately indicated that we had to make a pit stop.”
“Because you are driving yourself at such a moment, you are still not completely sure of your choice. That only comes when the team confirms that you have to come in. They did and in the end we turned out to be the made the right choice.”