“When I woke up this morning, I definitely didn’t expect this result” – Red Bull decided to switch Max Verstappen to inters just in time for the rain, helping him take the podium at Sochi after starting from the back of the grid.
Max Verstappen had a three-place grid penalty from Monza and then decided to use a new engine, ensuring the Red Bull starts the Russian GP at Sochi from the bottom of the grid.
As expected, he quickly overtook a few cars and made it to the Top 10 towards the latter stage of the race. And then, rain happened, and Lando Norris messed up his pit stop call, something Red Bull took full advantage of, putting Verstappen on inters right on time for it.
Struggling at P7 behind the Alpine of Fernando Alonso, the Dutchman made it to the podium places in no time, finishing the race right behind championship rival and race winner Lewis Hamilton. Safe to say, Verstappen was delighted with how his race panned out.
“A lot of things happen on the first lap and even in the first stint with other cars also fighting each other.
“You just have to stay out of trouble and stay clean and I think we managed all of that very well and the crucial call to go to the inters worked out.
“It was pretty tricky on the in-lap to make the call to go to inters but at one point it was really, really slippery. I think we decided at the right time to pit because if we had gone one lap earlier you would have probably destroyed the inters in the last sector.
“But of course, to come from last to second is very, very good and the race itself was not very easy because it was very difficult to pass again and once you got stuck, it was very easy to damage your tyres. Luckily the rain helped us to make that last jump.”
I didn’t expect to be able to finish 2nd after starting last, I’m super happy 💪 Our race was tough, but the call to switch to intermediates was crucial and worked out perfectly 👌 #KeepPushing #RussianGP 🇷🇺 pic.twitter.com/FP8b4zWHd7
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) September 26, 2021
Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen by 2 points
Verstappen had a 5 point lead before Sochi, but it is Hamilton who leads now, by just 2 points. Considering the double penalties, this was brilliant from Red Bull, and something Verstappen had zero expectations of.
“With the penalty we had and to only lose one sport basically, it is definitely not too bad. When I woke up this morning, I definitely didn’t expect this result.”