Max Verstappen said Ferrari’s resurgence at the Singapore Grand Prix should serve as a ‘wake-up call’ for his Red Bull team as he saw arch-rival Charles Leclerc draw level with him in the drivers’ championships.
Leclerc finished second behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who ended a 392-day wait for a Grand Prix win, while Verstappen held off a late challenge by championship leader Lewis Hamilton for third place.
The Dutchman said his team’s decision to make an early pit stop was the right race strategy, but voiced concern about the car’s lack of speed compared to the Ferrari.
‘It proved to be a good move stopping earlier. We went in at exactly the right time. It’s difficult to overtake here, so I’m happy to have made the podium this way.’
‘Slowest since Austria’
The latter stages of the race featured a number of crashes on the tight Singapore street circuit that brought the safety car out three times, limiting overtaking options even further. Verstappen also said he had his work cut out on the final laps as Hamilton’s Mercedes loomed in his wing mirrors.
‘Hamilton pitted eight laps after me, so his tyres were fresher. Maybe they were getting worried in the pit lane, but I focused on how I came out of the corners and that worked out fine.’
He added: ‘This was our slowest race since Austria. We need to analyse where it went wrong before we head to Russia, because that’s not an ideal circuit for us.’
Verstappen and Leclerc are now on 200 points, 94 behind Hamilton, with six races to go. Mercedes’s other driver Valtteri Bottas has 231, while Vettel’s win brought him within six points of the third-placed duo.
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