Max Verstappen was surprised by George Russell’s decision to switch to slick tyres at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The Dutchman had qualified in eighth in difficult conditions after spending the majority of the session out on track to make sure he could capitalise on a drying circuit.
Verstappen did not have enough fuel to complete a final run and then give a litre of fuel to the scrutineers, so he was forced to pit.
Russell had been eliminated in Q2 after encountering a brake issue, and he would then start from the pit lane after changes were made to his Mercedes outside of parc ferme conditions.
The Briton had tried to make progress early on, but he made contact with Valtteri Bottas, sending him back down the order in wet conditions.
As the track dried again, he was the first to gamble by going onto the Slicks, while Verstappen was running in the points having recovered from a poor start.
The 25-year-old was asked what he thought of the grip levels out on track while running on the Intermediates.
“Max, how are conditions?” asked his engineer, Gianpierro Lambiase.
“I think still not slicks, mate,” replied Verstappen.
“Somehow it just doesn’t dry, it’s still worse than quali.
“I mean, look at my onboard, this sector is just too wet,” added the Dutchman.
Lambiase saw Russell pitting, and explained the situation to his driver.
“Russell has just pitted for a medium tyre, obviously we won’t know anything until it gets going,” said the engineer.
“That’s brave at the moment,” responded the reigning champion.
Verstappen made it up to fifth in the race, but as he tried to pass Lando Norris for fourth after a full Safety Car, he went off at Turn Seven, and eventually recovered back to seventh.
Russell was given a chance of climbing into the top 10 by the Safety Car extracted by Yuki Tsunoda’s accident, but he made contact with Mick Schumacher towards the end, giving him a puncture.
He would eventually finish 14th, while team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton, having crashed into the wall, took two points in ninth.
Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate, Sergio Perez, won the race ahead of Charles Leclerc.