Max Verstappen admission: “Perez unreachable, I gave up.”

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A difficult comeback, and a fight for victory avoided by choice.

Smiling but not too much is Max Verstappen, second at the end of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and able to cross the finish line behind only teammate Sergio Perez. And the Dutchman, still the Formula 1 championship leader thanks to winning the fastest lap, admitted after the race that his Sunday was less easy than it sounds.

“It wasn’t very easy to come back,” Verstappen said hot on the heels of the race, “because in the first sector I was trying to stay in my rivals’ slipstream but I was sliding a lot. Once I was able to pass everyone, though, I found an optimal pace and I’m very happy to have finished on the podium.”

Heart-stopping finish moreover for Verstappen, due to vibration problems and apprehensions about his Red Bull’s driveshaft, following Saturday’s failure during qualifying. “They only occurred at the end of the race,” he explained, “I didn’t have a chance to catch Sergio and fight for the win anyway, so the decision came to give up and bring home second place. The comeback was still very good.”

Last line on that fast lap that allowed him to leave Saudi Arabia still ahead of teammate Perez in the world championship. “I gave everything on the last lap, and luckily it worked,” Verstappen said.

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