Max fourth at the French Grand Prix: 'Gave it everything I got'

Published on 23 June 2019 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen finished fourth fastest at the French Grand Prix. For the Dutchman it was a lonely race, but he did manage to keep one Ferrari behind of him once again, this time round he stayed ahead of Sebastian Vettel.  Lewis Hamilton won the rather less spectacular race together with Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas who was runner up. Charles Leclerc rounded up the podium.

“Actually it went better than was expected”, says Max after the race. “I gave it everything I got and we maximized yet once again. The start was good but we are lacking on the straight. I had a nice move on the outside of Leclerc in Turn two. I had more momentum, but then you miss top speed and there is not much you can do. Luckily I wasn’t overtaken on the first lap by a McLaren.”

The Dutchman continues: “Afterwards, I was able to run my own race and tried to follow Charles Leclerc. It was a bit of a lonely race, but I kept my eyes on Leclerc. So it was not completely boring, because you try to push. At a certain point in the second stint, we were looking quite good. With still about six more laps to go, I ran out of rear grip and decided to just bring the car home. Despite everything it is a good result for us to having been able to stay ahead of one Ferrari.”

On the question in which area the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team would be able to gain the most, Verstappen answers: “We are lacking power on this track and the car is also not ideal. Still there are only just a few corners where we are really slower than Mercedes. We need to be driving with a little less downforce, but at this moment this is not possible with the car because then the rear won’t be strong enough. So we need to get to work.”

Finally Max expects that it will be difficult for him to repeat his victory last year in Austria: “Austria is not the best track for our car. Last year we had a better car there than Mercedes and Ferrari, while this year round we don’t have a better car than Mercedes. So I am realistic and think that it will be difficult. I am happy that there will be so many Dutch fans and I will do my best, but I don’t expect any miracles.”

With a clear blue sky, the race on Circuit Paul Ricard gets underway. Starting from fourth, Max gets well off the line and manages to keep his position. Carlos Sainz, who has started behind of Max, puts Max under pressure on the first lap, but Verstappen is able to fend off the Spaniard’s onslaught. Polesitter Hamilton takes the lead, ahead of team mate Bottas, with Leclerc in third.

Max increases the gap to Sainz in the following laps and stays close to Leclerc. Sebastian Vettel passes the McLaren’s after a few laps very easily and moves up to P5.

Verstappen pits on lap 21 for the mandatory tyre change. After a quick 2.4 second pit stop, Max rejoins in fifth on a fresh set of the harder compound tyres on the RB15. On lap 26, Vettel also does his stop and rejoins behind of Verstappen. The Dutchman is fourth once again and some six seconds behind Leclerc and six ahead of Vettel.

Romain Grosjean is forced to park his Haas in the pits on lap 47. The Frenchman is the only drop out in a somewhat dull race. Lando Norris suffers some hydraulic issues in the closing stages of the race. This drops the McLaren-driver from seventh to tenth.

Hamilton takes the chequered flag supremely. Team mate Bottas crosses the line in second and gives Mercedes one more reason for celebrating. Max Verstappen finishes quite lonely in fourth, trailing Leclerc by some fifteen seconds. Vettel finishes fifth and takes the point for fastest race lap by pitting once more in the closing stages. Carlos Sainz is ‘best of the rest’ with a sixth place finish for McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo comes in seventh after a fierce fight with Norris, while Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg and the unlucky Norris round up the top ten.

Results Grand Prix France:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes531:24:31.19825
2Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes53+18.056s18
3Charles LeclercLECFerrari53+18.985s15
4Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda53+34.905s12
5Sebastian VettelVETFerrari53+62.796s11
6Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault53+95.462s8
7Daniel RicciardoRICRenault52+1 lap6
8Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari52+1 lap4
9Nico HulkenbergHULRenault52+1 lap2
10Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault52+1 lap1
11Pierre GaslyGASRed Bull Racing Honda52+1 lap0
12Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes52+1 lap0
13Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes52+1 lap0
14Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda52+1 lap0
15Alexander AlbonALBScuderia Toro Rosso Honda52+1 lap0
16Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari52+1 lap0
17Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari52+1 lap0
18Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes51+2 laps0
19George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes51+2 laps0
0Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari44DNF0