Formula 1

Max Verstappen Sounds Alarm: Admits RB20 Lagging Behind Despite Silverstone Strategy Win

During the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Max Verstappen delivered a stark warning to his Red Bull team. Despite clinching a second-place finish — falling behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris — Verstappen expressed significant concerns over the performance of his car, particularly the tire management issues that nearly compromised his race. With the Hungarian Grand Prix looming in just two weeks, the Dutch driver’s critique underscores a crucial period of assessment and adjustment for his team.

Verstappen’s ride at Silverstone was fraught with challenges. He faced excessive tire wear, particularly overheating of the front tires which severely hindered his grip during the slower corners of the track. This issue impeded his ability to maintain speed in the race’s faster sections, greatly affecting his overall performance. Verstappen himself noted the severity of the situation, saying, “Yes, it was going nowhere. On those mediums, the front tires immediately got way too hot and I just had no grip in the slow corners. I could no longer attack in the fast corners, so that’s why I naturally dropped all the way back. At one point it looked like it might be P5 or P6. This is obviously not what you want.”

The race at Silverstone displayed a strategic masterclass in tire management from the Red Bull team, despite the car’s lackluster speed. Transitioning from intermediate tires to slick ones proved critical in leveraging the car’s capabilities under the dynamically changing track conditions. Verstappen managed to outpace Norris and even Hamilton for a time, primarily due to their less optimal tire choices in the prevailing conditions. Reflecting on the team’s strategic decisions, Verstappen remarked, “Right calls. I said now we have to go to inters, so that was good. But even there we were just too slow of course. The tires again just got too hot and in the end, we made the right call again to go from those inters to slicks. We really just couldn’t have done better yet. The team then also put that hard tire on my car and that was obviously good for me. With a car that was too slow, eventually coming second and just taking all the right decisions as a team, then that’s the maximum. But yes, that’s obviously not what I want.”

Despite the strategic success, Verstappen did not mince words about his dissatisfaction with the car’s speed and competitive edge. He pointedly dismissed the RB20’s pace as the factor behind his second-place finish, instead emphasizing the critical role of tire strategy and team decision-making. “That’s more because of course they had the wrong tire on the car. If they had driven on that hard tire, of course, we wouldn’t have had a chance either,” he explained.

With the Hungarian Grand Prix on the horizon, Verstappen was forthright about the imperative for improvements. “Work to be done. We are really not the fastest at the moment,” he stated, setting the tone for what needs to be an intense period of evaluation and tactical enhancement for Red Bull if they hope to remain competitive. As the F1 season progresses, the effectiveness of these adjustments will be critical in determining whether Verstappen can challenge consistently for the top spot on the podium.

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Alex Harrington

Alex started racing at a young age so certainly knows his way around a car and a track. He can just about put a sentence together too, which helps. He has a great interest in the latest models, but would throw all of his money at a rusty old French classic and a 300ZX. Contact: [email protected]

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