Max Verstappen has made an admission about Mercedes after he overtook Lewis Hamilton in the Driver’s Championship rankings in the Turkish Grand Prix
Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton in the F1 Drivers’ Championship on Sunday with a second-placed finish in the Turkish Grand Prix – although he conceded it will be tough for him to maintain his lead in two weeks’ time at the United States Grand Prix.
Verstappen was soundly beaten by Hamilton’s Mercedes partner Valtteri Bottas in adverse conditions in Istanbul.
But with Hamilton only finishing fifth after suffering a 10-place grid penalty, Verstappen has stolen a march on him in the race for the title.
With just six races left, there is a lot of pressure on Hamilton to make up the disparity and win a record eighth championship.
But the Dutch driver has played down his title chances by admitting Mercedes could steal a march at the US Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time.
“It was not easy today,” Verstappen said.
“I mean the track was very greasy and we had to manage the tyres all race, so we couldn’t really push.
“It seemed like Valtteri [Bottas] had more pace and could look after the tyres better as well, so I’m happy to finish in second place.”
The treacherous conditions made it difficult for the drivers, something which Verstappen alluded to.
When asked what the hardest part of the race was, the Dutchman joked that simply staying in consciousness was the most difficult part.
He continued: “To stay awake! No, I mean it was all about managing the tyres, so you were never really pushing. I’m happy to be on the podium.
“I think it’s been close the whole year and I’m sure in Austin (for the US Grand Prix) it will be another close battle with Mercedes.
“We just have to keep pushing, keep trying to improve and we’ll see where we are at the end – but it’s been a great season so far.”
Hamilton fumed at his bosses via the team radio after they told him to pit for new tyres.
The Brit ignored team orders and vowed to stay out on his first set of tyres, but on lap 51 he admitted they were starting to lose grip and pitted.
“We shouldn’t have come in, massive graining man. I told you,” Hamilton said.
The seven-time world champion will look. “Brinkwire Summary News”.