Max' British Grand Prix ends in DNF: 'Brake pedal fell to the floor'

Published on 08 July 2018 by Raymond Snip

Max Verstappen had to retire with technical problems from an otherwise exciting British Grand Prix. The Dutchman, for a long time, was on track for a podium finish but a safety car situation in the second part of the race made him fall back to fifth place. In the end, a gearbox problem in the final stages ended his race prematurely. Sebastian Vettel won the race, with Lewis Hamilton in P2 and Kimi Raikkonen in third place.

After the race, Verstappen tells us about his unfortunate race: "Fortunately I did not hit anything at the start. In the first lap I hit the brakes in turn three and the pedal fell to the floor. I received a warning about a brake-by-wire problem at that moment. After that it recovered, which was very weird. Usually it’s done when something like that happens. Later on, we were able to pick up speed again."

"I then had to manage the tyres the full race, because I was trying to do a one-stopper. Fortunately, there was a safety car, because it was not going to work out that way. After the first safety car I had the fight with Kimi which was beautiful in itself, but it's just incredibly frustrating how much slower we are on the straights. We were too slow on the straight to do anything. Even after the safety cars, when we’re like drag racing, we were very slow. That’s very frustrating."

In the final phase, Max retired likely due to a problem with his brake-by-wire system. Max explains what exactly happened: "I braked for turn sixteen. The brake pedal fell away, blocking the rear wheels and spun off the track. When I wanted to drive away the car was stuck in the first gear. I think it was an electronic problem with the brake-by-wire and not something with the gearbox."

After three podiums, this retirement is a major setback, although the Dutchman remains calm: "It's not a nice way to finish the triple-header, but fortunately the last race was good and the two races before that too. This is racing sometimes. I have seen it before and it will happen in the future, but of course I preferred to finish fifth here at least to collect some points because now we have nothing."

The British Grand Prix is off to a start at a, for British standards, exceptionally high temperature of 26 degrees Celsius and a track temperature of 52 degrees. Max has a reasonable start from his fifth grid position and manages to keep his position. In turn three, polesitter Hamilton is hit by Raikkonen and spins. Due to the incident, Verstappen can pass the two and climbs to third, behind Vettel and Valtteri Bottas. In the center, Sergio Perez spins in turn one and has to continue his race from the back of the pack.

Brendon Hartley has to retire in lap three. The New Zealander could not participate in the qualifying session due to a major crash, caused by a broken suspension, in the third free practice session. After a start from pit lane, he parks his Toro Rosso in the garage with technical problems.

In the first few laps, Raikkonen puts pressure on Verstappen. However, the Finn, who also receives a ten second time penalty for his touché with Hamilton, does not manage to attack him. Hamilton, who has fallen back to the rear after the incident, fights his way forward. In lap eleven the Brit is already in P6. The gap to leader Vettel however is already 26 seconds.

In lap fourteen Raikkonen pits as first of the top six. The Ferrari driver has to finish the ten second time penalty during his stop and falls back to eleventh place. The Fin, on his fresh set of mediums, manages to get back to sixth position in just a few laps.

In lap eighteen Verstappen comes in for his first pit stop. He switches from soft tyres to a new set of mediums. Verstappen rejoins in fifth position, which will become fourth after teammate Ricciardo also makes his pit stop.

Charles Leclerc retires in lap twenty. The unfortunate Monegasque, who completes an excellent weekend, comes in for his pit stop from P8. However, the Sauber technicians do not correctly attach one of its wheels, which forces Leclerc to stop the car. Lewis Hamilton is the final driver of the top six to make his mandatory pit stop in lap 26. The home driver rejoins twelve seconds behind Raikkonen, in sixth place. Verstappen moves up to third again, with Vettel still in the lead. In the 32nd lap Daniel Ricciardo makes his second stop. The Australian switches back to the soft tyre compound. In the meantime, Lewis Hamilton is catching up fast on Raikkonen. While Verstappen drives three seconds in front of the Finn.

In lap 34, Marcus Ericsson loses control of his Sauber and gets off track hard at turn one. The Swede crashes into the barrier and is out of the race, fortunately he walks away unharmed. The safety car enters the track, which opens up the opportunity to make a second pit stop. Max makes his second stop, switches to the soft tyre and falls back to fourth place. Vettel also decides to stop and falls back to P2. Both Mercedes stay out, putting Bottas in the lead and Hamilton in third place.

In lap 38 the track is again released. Raikkonen places an attack on Max on the Wellington Straight and briefly passes the Dutchman. Verstappen fights back and stays on the outside at Luffield and successfully defends his fourth position. At Copse, Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz are in a fight. The men slide off track together and their race ends in the gravel. Once again, the safety car is released.

In lap 42 the safety car leaves the track. Vettel, on faster soft tyres, immediately puts pressure on race leader Bottas, while Raikkonen goes after Verstappen. The Dutchman goes wide at Backetts and therefore Raikkonen can take fourth place away from him on Hangar Straight. After several attempts, Vettel overtakes Bottas, who even drops back behind teammate Hamilton and Raikkonen.

In lap 48 Verstappen retires with technical problems. The Dutchman reports that his car is stuck in first gear. After being spun at Club because of this problem, Verstappen parks his car a few turns later. Vettel goes on to win the British Grand Prix, with Hamilton behind him in second place. Raikkonen completes the podium. Bottas finishes in fourth place just in front of Daniel Ricciardo. Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly finish in six to tenth place.

Results Grand Prix Great Britain:

1Sevastian VettelVETFerrari521:27:29.78425
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes52+2.264s18
3Kimi RäikkönenRAIFerrari52+3.652s15
5Daniel RicciardoRICRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer52+9.500s10
6Nico HulkenbergHULRenault52+28.220s8
7Esteban OconOCOForce India Mercedes52+29.930s6
8Fernando AlonsoALOMcLaren Renault52+31.115s4
9Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari52+33.188s2
10Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda52+34.129s1
11Sergio PerezPERForce India Mercedes52+34.708s0
12Stoffel VandoorneVANMcLaren Renault52+35.774s0
13Lance StrollSTRWilliams Mercedes52+38.106s0
14SergeySirotkinSIRSIRWilliams Mercedes52+48.113s0
15Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer46DNF0
0Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari37DNF0
0Carlos SainzSAIRenault37DNF0
0Marcus EricssonERISauber Ferrari31DNF0
0Charles LeclercLECSauber Ferrari18DNF0
0Brendon HartleyHARScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1DNF0