September 18, 2023

Verstappen rues “worst-case scenario” Safety Car appearance · RaceFans


Max Verstappen says his Singapore Grand Prix was heavily compromised by the timing of a mid-race Safety Car period.

The championship leader saw his run of 10 consecutive victories this season come to an end after he finished fifth in today’s race.

Verstappen started 11th and was running in eighth place before the Safety Car was deployed for debris on the circuit after Logan Sargeant hit the wall at turn eight and left debris on the track.

The Safety Car deployment allowed the majority of the field to pit for hard tyres. Verstappen and Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez remained on the hard tyres they had started the race on. Verstappen later pitted for medium rubber on lap 40 and rejoined in 15th, climbing 10 places to finish fifth.

“I think everything went against us in the race with the Safety Car,” Verstappen told media including RaceFans after the race.

“It was possibly the worst-case scenario because I really think that if the Safety Cars would have worked out a little bit more in our favour, I would actually be fighting with the guys [ahead] because I think that last stint was quite decent.”

After Red Bull’s worst combined qualifying result of the season, Verstappen says he was happier with the performance of the RB19 in the race compared to qualifying.

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“It’s of course not what we wanted, but I think today was a little bit better,” he said. But still, we were unlucky during the race with all the Safety Cars going against us.

“Clearly we learnt quite a bit from today and maybe what we did wrong yesterday. I cannot go into details – the problem is we can only show next year, when we come back, if it’s better or not.”

The car’s limitations from qualifying were “still there a bit but to a lesser extent” in the race, said Verstappen. “Normally also our car is always better in the race and I think you could see that again today in the race, especially on the medium at the end I think we had good pace. I was managing, of course, my tyres in that last stint to have good tyres to the end, but I was quite happy.”

The race ended Verstappen’s record 10-race winning streak and Red Bull’s 16 race winning streak dating back to last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Verstappen said he was not disappointed to see his streak finally come to an end.

“I knew that this day would come, so for me it’s absolutely fine,” he said.

Although Verstappen and Red Bull continue to enjoy an almost unassailable lead, the world championship leader believes it will be difficult for Red Bull to win regularly over the final part of the season.

“Everything needs to be perfect [to keep winning],” he said.

“Everyone is always saying, ‘oh, look at how dominant they are, look how easy it is’ but it’s not easy. It’s a lot of details that you always need to get right, and clearly this weekend we didn’t get a few things right and then you’re on the backfoot and you don’t win.”

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