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Verstappen highlights what stopped him from challenging Leclerc

Max Verstappen and Red Bull had no answer for the pace of the Ferraris during the Austrian Grand Prix, with the Dutchman singling out a specific reason.

Max Verstappen admitted that tyre degradation cost him a shot at victory as he settled for second position in the Austrian Grand Prix. Verstappen lost the lead to Charles Leclerc in the early stages, and Carlos Sainz later on, as Red Bull and Ferrari adopted different tyre strategies at the Red Bull Ring. While Verstappen made his two planned stops first, Leclerc and Sainz went much longer and assumed control when the race entered its closing stages. A late engine blowout for Sainz gifted Verstappen second, with Leclerc surviving throttle issues to take the chequered flag.

Verstappen reflects on a "difficult day" for Red Bull

Despite losing out to Leclerc, Verstappen was satisfied at claiming another strong points haul and keeping his healthy championship lead intact. "It was a tricky day," Verstappen summed up after the race. "Immediately it seemed like we were struggling quite a bit with the tyres, and basically that continued on every single compound, so there was too much degradation to really attack Charles, especially. "But nevertheless, second place is a good result for us on a difficult day."

Praise for the Dutch fans and Leclerc

Verstappen also paid tribute to the vocal Dutch crowd - equipped with orange flares - who cheered for him throughout the 71-lap encounter. "It was nice. I mean, it's a great colour anyway, so I don't mind that to drive through it!" Verstappen laughed. "It's great to see so many fans coming here to Austria. Of course, unfortunately, I couldn't give them a win today, but I think second is still a decent result." As for his latest clean battle with Leclerc, Verstappen signed off: "Of course, like it has been already the whole year, so I think that's great to see." Sergio Perez retired from proceedings in the other Red Bull after contact with Mercedes' George Russell on the first lap.

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