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Max Verstappen

'A younger Verstappen might have spat out his dummy'

Max Verstappen had to play 'the long game' to secure his runner-up spot in the British GP

Verstappen podium Silverstone
To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen "might have spat out his dummy" in his early F1 career if faced with the circumstances he encountered throughout Sunday's British Grand Prix, according to 13-time race winner David Coulthard.

It was a frustrating weekend for the three-time F1 champion who qualified fourth on the grid after causing severe damage to the floor of his Red Bull after ploughing over the gravel after going off at Copse.

Following an opening-lap pass on McLaren's Lando Norris to move up to fourth, it quickly became apparent Verstappen's RB20 did not have the pace of the front-running Mercedes.

Through changeable conditions, at one stage Verstappen dropped to fifth, a position he thought he would have to settle for until a retirement from George Russell and pit wall mistakes from McLaren left him chasing Hamilton late on for the victory.

On hard tyres compared to softs for Hamilton, Verstappen fell just 1.5s shy of overhauling his great rival but was happy to settle for second, extending his drivers' championship lead over Norris and the chasing pack in the process.

It was a calm, measured drive for Verstappen who recognised the extent to which he could push his car that is no longer the quickest in F1.

"It's accepting what you have on any given day, and that's maturity, that's experience," said former McLaren and Red Bull driver Coulthard. "He's won 60-odd grands prix.

"It's exactly what we saw with Lewis out front, and he has over 100 grand prix victories. A race like this is about the long game, there are so many variables.

"Maybe a younger Max might have spat the dummy and over-driven but he doesn't need to do that now."

Verstappen 'fluctuations' confusing

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner felt Verstappen encountered "a very weird race" due to fluctuations in performance across the frontrunners that need analysing ahead of the final two races before F1's summer break in Hungary and Belgium.

"On the medium tyre at the start of the race you would have to say that it looked like Mercedes had the pace, had things under control, and they seemed to have McLaren covered," said Horner.

"We were just falling off the back of that, first of all getting passed by Lando and then getting passed by Piastri, and at a certain point, Carlos Sainz was starting to close down.

"I then felt we got the call onto the inter bang on, a really good out lap from Max. He was five seconds quicker in the middle sector which leapfrogged him ahead of Russell and ahead of Piastri who they [McLaren] hung out for another lap.

"But then the next three or four laps we were nowhere. It was like that extra lap we'd taken out of the tyre had hurt us but then it started to calm down.

"As the circuit started to move back towards slicks, suddenly Max is the quickest car on the circuit again, so is then coming back at Mercedes and McLaren. That was coming our way.

"Then [we had] a great stop and a good call to go on to the hard tyre, and Max, his pace thereafter, again he was half a second per lap quicker in the middle sector, and he just kept coming back, he passed Lando. Another lap or two, and who knows, he might have passed Lewis.

"So lots of data and information to take out of that to understand these big fluctuations because, at different points in time, different cars looked quick.

"It started off with Mercedes, then suddenly it looked like McLaren had everything under control, and then suddenly, the second half of the race, Max started coming back and very nearly won it."

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