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Verstappen disbelief as "crucial" Red Bull call lands P2 in late Sochi chaos

Verstappen disbelief as "crucial" Red Bull call lands P2 in late Sochi chaos

F1 News

Verstappen disbelief as "crucial" Red Bull call lands P2 in late Sochi chaos

Verstappen disbelief as "crucial" Red Bull call lands P2 in late Sochi chaos

Max Verstappen was left in a state of disbelief after landing the runner-up spot in the Russian Grand Prix thanks to a "crucial" Red Bull pit call.

After being hit with a three-place grid penalty for contact in Monza, Verstappen took a fourth power unit for the Russian Grand Prix and started at the back of the grid.

Having made early progress through the order, the middle stint of the race left the Dutchman on the fringes of the top 10 until rain caused chaos in the closing laps.

Red Bull and Verstappen timed the switch to intermediates perfectly, ensuring the championship damage was limited to just seven points.

"A lot of things happen on the first lap and even in the first stint with other cars also fighting each other," said Verstappen of the opening exchanges.

"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."

As rain fell over a gradually increasing portion of the circuit, the timing of the switch to intermediates was critical, something demonstrated by then race-leader Lando Norris as he tried in vain to remain on slicks.

"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," explained Verstappen.

"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."

Finishing second to title-rival Hamilton, Verstappen drops to second in the standings with two points separating the two drivers.

"With the penalty we had and to only lose one sport basically, it is definitely not too bad," he added.

"When I woke up this morning, I definitely didn't expect this result."

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