Max Verstappen has revealed that he never knew quite what to expect from car form one lap to the next because of the win playing havoc at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz span into the gravel early on after a gust of wind caught the back of his car, and the same fate awaited Verstappen a few laps later when he too went for an adventure.
While Sainz’s car was not “the same” after his trip across the gravel, the reigning champion did not feel anything different when he re-joined the circuit, so he was able to carry on as normal.
“The first 30 laps were very frustrating for me after I went off at Turn 4, which really caught me by surprise because I didn’t feel like I was actually braking later or throwing more speed into the corner,” explained Verstappen.
“But it was very gusty out there today, one lap it felt all stable and the next lap suddenly you could have more oversteer in places so that probably caught me out by surprise and that wasn’t ideal.
“Once I was back on the track, the car felt like normal – so I was lucky there of course.”
The 24-year-old was caught behind George Russell as a result, but could not get by because his DRS failed, and he exclaimed on the radio that he was pressing the button “50 times” to no effect.
This followed the same experienced he had during qualifying, and he affirms that there is not much a driver can do when the system is letting them down.
“There’s nothing you can do. I spammed it like 50 times at one point on the straight and it’s just not opening so it was clearly an issue,” elaborated the Dutchman.
“I tried all different kind of things, but it was just malfunctioning.”
Verstappen would go on to win the race after going onto a three-stop strategy, which enabled him to clear Russell.
On fresher tyres than team-mate Sergio Perez, he was waved through by his team to take his fourth win of the season, meaning that he now leads the Drivers’ Championship by six points following Charles Leclerc’s reliability failure.