Calm Verstappen 'stayed out of trouble' to take win

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium.
© XPB 

With so much going on during the wet race at Hockenheim on Sunday, it seemed that the coolest and calmest driver in the entire German Grand Prix was Max Verstappen.

The 21-year-old said that keeping his head was the secret to his success, as he claimed a decisive victory by over seven seconds from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel following an eventful race.

“It was amazing, of course to win, but it was really tricky out there," he told the media after the race.

It was all about trying to not make too many mistakes,” he added. “You learn, over the years. I was very happy with the whole performance today.”

Verstappen did make one error during the afternoon when he spun while making his first run on slick tyres.

But he got away with it and was able to get back underway without losing position - and soon changed back to intermediate tyres to avoid a recurrence.

"We pitted onto the slick tyre, had a little moment, made a nice 360 so that was nice. Enjoyed that!" he laughed.

"That ended well too, thankfully. Those red tyres have way more grip, of course, especially when the track is still that slippery. Luckily it started raining again and we went back to the inters."

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium.

And after he hit the lead of the race following another safety car, he was able to keep his cool all the way to the finish.

"Once I took the lead I could just drive away," he said. "Before that, my problem was that I was stuck behind Bottas.

"[Later] I could drive safely and I didn't have to push that much. Eventually, it all ended well. I stayed out of trouble. Just that one spin, but I had it under control."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said that Verstappen's victory in today's rain-hit race almost defied belief.

“To win a race like that when conditions are like this, it’s a little bit of a lottery anyway, but Max kept his head and he was brilliant out there," Horner said.

"It was unbelievable," he continued. "Those kind of races he excels at. He was in total control when he got to the front. Once he got clean air he was in a class of his own."

The team gave him all the help it could when it came to no less than five visits to pit lane for tyre changes during the afternoon's intense action.

"Out of the five stops we got one pit stop wrong, thinking we would need that tyre to get to the end of the race," Horner told Sky Sports F1. "You've just got to keep your head.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari, second; Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing, race winner; Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso, third.

"We had the opportunity to put another new set of tyres on, and that gave Max a really good tyre to build a gap, and then with the new slicks, and then he was away.

"We were just making sure we kept the right tyre at the right time. Different things are happening at different corners," he explained.

“We were giving him all the information we could about where he was tyre-wise compared to his opponents and he was still able to push, push, push – and once he’d got clean air, then he was in a class of his own.”

The only real area of weakness for the team was at the very start, with Verstappen losing two positions to Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen as he struggled to get away from the wet grid.

"I just had no grip," Verstappen said. "But I think everyone on the right side had little grip for some reason.

"In the end, it didn't matter that much, luckily. It was all about making the right calls and staying out of trouble."

"They were pretty horrible," Horner admitted when asked about the starts of both Verstappen and his team mate Pierre Gasly.

"I don't know whether it was that side of the grid. It didn't move, but they kept their head. [Max] passed the cars that he needed to and got in behind the Mercedes."

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