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Verstappen “sitting duck” against Hamilton in “slower” Red Bull

Verstappen “sitting duck” against Hamilton in “slower” Red Bull

F1 News

Verstappen “sitting duck” against Hamilton in “slower” Red Bull

Verstappen “sitting duck” against Hamilton in “slower” Red Bull

Max Verstappen declared himself a “sitting duck” after title rival Lewis Hamilton hunted him down to take victory in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Red Bull driver Verstappen had taken the lead in a bold move at the start and looked a strong contender for victory after he pitted earlier than Hamilton in what was a planned one-stop strategy.

Mercedes, though, pulled Hamilton in for a second stop with 24 of the 66 laps remaining, leaving the Briton with a gap of just over 23 seconds to close down.

Hamilton used the fresh rubber to chase down Verstappen and claim the 98th win of his F1 career.

After the race, the Dutch driver said: “In a way, I could see it coming. Already at the end [of the stint] with the softs he was faster

“When we put on the mediums he clearly had a lot more pace, he could just stay within one second, so there was not much we could have done. So then [they] went for another stop and then I knew it was over.

“I was already struggling with the tyres and you could see with every lap he was just getting closer and closer so [I was] a bit of a sitting duck.”

Verstappen said he “tried everything I could” but on a track that typically suits Mercedes it was the reigning champions on top again, putting pre-season favourites Red Bull in the shade.

Verstappen added: “It shows we are not there where we want to be. We still have to push hard and catch up because at the moment we are a little bit slower but nonetheless, compared to last year, it’s been a big jump for us.

“When you’re in the lead with the cars behind, with traffic and stuff, you don’t want to pit in traffic but it makes it a lot easier when you have a clear advantage, more pace in the car.

“If we had jumped for another stop [in reaction to Hamilton’s second stop] I am not sure we would have caught up again.“

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