Max Verstappen believes that, if not for his electrical issues, finishing on the podium in Austria would’ve been easy.
While Mercedes comfortably had the quickest car all weekend, the Dutchman was consistently their closest challenger.
After qualifying in P3, Verstappen started in P2 due to Lewis Hamilton’s penalty and comfortably held position there at the start. Running the medium tyre, he looked in good shape to challenge Valtteri Bottas for the win.
However, his plans were ruined just 11 laps in when a mechanical issue slowed his car and sent him tumbling down to last place.
It was initially thought to be an engine issue, but an electrical fault now seems more likely. Verstappen himself stated that the team aren’t sure yet.
“I’m not quite sure what happened yet, we’ll investigate and find out but of course that’s not how you want to start the season,” Verstappen said.
“I had a good start, unlike last year, and quite early on I could see that Valtteri was quick so fighting for the win was always going to be a big challenge.”
While a win may have been difficult to get, the Red Bull driver looked almost certain to take a podium at the least, and he believes that he could have had no trouble doing so.
“I think it would have been an easy podium and third would have been a decent start to the season but what can you do? This is racing and it is what it is, you can’t change the result now,” he added.
“It is a shame for everyone who worked so hard to get us here this weekend but we will just focus on the race next week and hope for something better.”
Things weren’t much better for Verstappen’s team-mate. Alex Albon looked set to get his maiden podium but, trying to take P2, he was hit by Lewis Hamilton and dropped down the order. Laps later, he too retired with a mechanical problem.