Anyone doubting that Max Verstappen took part in today’s Russian Grand Prix would be excused so unassuming was the Red Bull driver’s presence Sunday in Sochi.
A lack of wheel-to-wheel racing – and overtaking – throughout the field meant that a few good performances went unnoticed, with Verstappen’s run to P5 among them.
“The start was very important today and ended up being the only action of the race for me,” said the Dutchman.
“I managed to get past Felipe and Daniel and from there on it was a very lonely race. I could see the cars in front of me pulling away and I was pulling away from the cars behind so I just tried to manage the car home. “
The 19-year-old’s race was considered to be at risk at the outset when a water pump leak was discovered just 90 minutes from the start of proceedings.
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Fortunately, the Red Bull Racing mechanics sprung into action and applied a fix which preserved the number 33 car from a DNF.
“After the issues we had this morning luckily nothing upset me or the rhythm during the race so I just had to bring it across the line.
“The mechanics did a really good job sorting the issue in such a small amount of time and giving me a car to complete the race in P5.
“The pace was not so bad in the last stint which is another positive to take away from this tough weekend. Towards the end you naturally start to turn things down on the car to be safe.”
At the end of the day, Verstappen probably extracted the most from his RB13’s potential in Sochi.
“We maximised the opportunities we had so now we can look forward to Barcelona, the upgrades are coming and we can hopefully start to get involved in the fight at the front.
“Barcelona is obviously a very special track for me following last year’s race so I am excited to return and see what we can do.”
Gallery: All the action from Sunday in Sochi
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