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2018 F1

Verstappen reveals ‘close to retire’ because of false neutrals

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Following the impressive second place finish at Singapore Grand Prix, Max Verstappen reveals that he came close to having to retire from the race because of his spec C Renault power unit that had overwhelmed him all weekend.

During the third free Practice – Verstappen reported various points with transmission and engine problems. Issues fixed RB14 enough for Verstappen to make P2 for starting grid behind Lewis Hamilton.

Following the start, the Dutchman held on to the position through the first corner, only to lose out to Sebastian Vettel moments later.

Max revealed that his engine-related issues sustained during the main race, as he struggled to get off the line at the start and immediately came under attack from Vettel, losing the position on the long drag to Turn 7.

“I was very happy the Safety Car was gone because I was almost stalling on the track,” Verstappen revealed, having been heard complaining on the radio of false neutrals while lapping behind the Safety Car. “Even in my pit stop it was not great.”

“In first gear it doesn’t react. I was going flat out with the brakes on to try and get the rpm,” he explained. “During the race, shifting down was also very difficult.”

“In the pit stop I don’t know what was going on, but it was not that great,” he said. Even so, despite a slow getaway from his pit box, the Dutch driver was able to get back out just ahead of the Ferrari.

“The team had a great strategy, so we could get back into second,” he said. “If we had come out on track behind of Vettel, we would have finished third.”

“I was very confident [the engine] would last, but it was just really poor to drive,” he said. “Basically we did our own race, tried to follow Lewis a little bit.

“At the end we knew second was going to be the result so we just brought it home.”

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