For Max Verstappen it was a podium place without any frills. “This was quite boring“, the Dutchman said after his third place in the Belgian Grand Prix. The Red Bull missed the speed to put Mercedes rivals Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to the shots, but was fast enough to keep the rest at bay.
It was a race that Verstappen had predicted. “The tires were fast. Then you know you can’t attack,” he looked back on the race, where Lewis Hamilton led from start to finish and extended his lead on Verstappen in the World Cup standings to 47 points. “I couldn’t keep up with the Mercedes.”
So it was a frustrating race for Verstappen, despite his sixth podium finish in a row. “It wasn’t much fun today,” he said in front of Ziggo’s camera. “It was a bit of a fucking race. I didn’t have much fun. Third, it’s better than nothing.”
Winner Hamilton was more than happy. “It wasn’t an easy race. The tire temperature went down quickly. I got a bit nervous in the closing stages. I thought for a moment about the Silverstone scenario, where I almost lost the win due to a flat tire in the closing stages. Luckily it was all about nothing.”
Nothing to gain, nothing to lose
Verstappen, who can manage his tyres like no other and was only on the podium in Spa in 2018, took no more risk in the closing stages. “If I changed tyres I would come back behind Ricciardo. I didn’t want that. I had nothing to gain, I had nothing to lose. A podium place is a podium place, but I could never get into my rhythm here.”