What a difference a week makes as Max Verstappen went from the hunter to the “frustrated” at the Spanish GP, says Ross Brawn.
Two weeks ago Verstappen was on top of the world at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix as the heat, tyre wear, and an alternate strategy played into his hands.
The Red Bull raced to the victory, crossing the line 11 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton and even having the time to joke with his engineer on the final lap.
One week later and it was a very different Verstappen and the radio messages were a lot more cutting.
Although Verstappen was running second, splitting the Mercedes drivers, it was evident that the Dutchman would have no chance of catching Hamilton and fighting for the win.
It led to a rather tense exchange.
Verstappen: "How about we just focus on our race first instead of looking for Lewis? Clearly on the soft tyre we are not as fast as them. Make sure we do our job, and let them do their job" 🎧
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 16, 2020
Former F1 team boss turned sporting boss Brawn says he understands the driver’s frustrations at the Barcelona circuit.
“We’ve been treated to some stellar performances from Max so far this season – and some entertaining radio messages, too,” Brawn said in his post-race review.
“What was noticeable was the different complexion of his radio messages from the last race to this one.
“At Silverstone, he was the hunter with his prey in sight. In Barcelona, he knew it was out of reach and he showed his frustration at that situation with his demeanour on the radio.”
However, he also gets why the engineers were relaying the information about the Mercedes drivers to Verstappen as some times the strategists can see something the driver can’t.
He continued: “That’s often how on the pit wall, you quickly pick up on mindset of driver and helps you find a way to deal with him and give him the right information. He doesn’t always realise how strategy could play you back into game.
“It’s up to the people on the pit wall to make sure a driver doesn’t miss the picture of what is going on. The drivers get their times given to them and their relative performance but sometimes opportunities could come, such as on Sunday when there was the threat of rain for the last 10 laps.
“Of course, that didn’t materialise, but the team has all the information – and forecasts – at their fingertips, and it’s up to them to feed that to their driver in the right way.”
Six races into this year’s championship and Verstappen is second in the Drivers’ Championship, chasing his best-ever finish.
The Dutchman, though, is 37 points behind runaway championship leader Lewis Hamilton.