Max Verstappen admitted it was “very challenging” to cope with wet conditions, a drying track and a race stoppage after he held steady to win the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday.
Verstappen forced his way past pole-sitting rival Lewis Hamilton when the race was started in wet conditions and managed the race perfectly to finish 22 seconds ahead of the Mercedes driver.
Verstappen said: “It was very challenging out there, especially in the beginning. It was very hard to stay on track, to be honest, it was very slippery, and then with the tyres degrading in the wet.
“I surprised myself [off the line]. Last year we struggled a little bit off the line but last year we worked really hard to make it better, as you saw a little bit in Bahrain but now in these tricky conditions I think we did a great job.
“I chose the right moment to go onto slicks. It’s never easy. I think we managed everything well. I had a little moment in my restart, but everything else went really well so I felt very happy with that.”
Verstappen almost threw away his opportunity ahead of the rolling restart while driving behind the safety car and admitted: “It was a little moment when I was trying to warm up with the throttle but luckily we didn’t spin.”
He missed out on drawing level with Hamilton in the championship after his rival set the fastest lap of the race to snatch a point and stay one point ahead, but Verstappen added: “It’s a long season, so we have to stay calm.”
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