Max Verstappen said his poor start “destroyed” his Italian Grand Prix early on before his Sunday drive ended with a DNF.
Red Bull pushed hard for the ban on ‘quali modes‘ coming into the Italian Grand Prix, but the Austrian team failed to benefit from it in qualifying as Verstappen was left starting from P5.
The Dutchman would then lose several positions at the start which he would struggle to regain, before factors outside of his control made his afternoon go from bad to worse.
He would lose his spot in the top 10 after pitting when the Safety Car had been deployed to cover Kevin Magnussen’s stricken Haas near the pitlane.
Charles Leclerc’s crash at the Parabolica then did Verstappen no favours either as the red flags came out to suspend the race, and his dismal Sunday was finally over when Red Bull retired his RB16 thanks to an engine related issue.
“The start was bad,” Verstappen told Sky F1.
“Then we got stuck in a DRS train and you cannot pass. You are just following. That was all going well but the start completely destroyed our race. From there onwards, there was a red flag and then we had a problem on the engine so I don’t know what exactly yet but we had to retire the car.”
— Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) September 6, 2020
It was also a race to forget for Verstappen’s team-mate Alex Albon.
The Thai driver collided with race winner Pierre Gasly at Turn 1 when the race began, and then picked up a five-second time penalty for his overaggressive driving against Romain Grosjean.
He would end up stranded towards the back of the order and failed to make any progress during the race, finishing ahead only of Antonio Giovinazzi who was given a 10-second stop-go penalty for entering the pitlane when it was closed.
Asked if he had driven the race with damage after hitting Gasly, Albon said: Yeah, I don’t how much but we were [carrying damage].
“I will check it out with the guys because obviously, it was a long race for us. We didn’t have any grip. We definitely had damage. I will see what the team has to say because it wasn’t a fun race.
“It was a tough weekend for us as a team. Without the circumstances, it was always going to be tough but it was not a good day for us, a better day for Alpha Tauri so well done to them guys. We will put our heads down and focus on Mugello.”
Verstappen has now dropped to P3 in the Drivers’ Championship, 54 points behind Hamilton, whilst Gasly’s win will do little to assure Albon of his future at Red Bull.