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Max Verstappen

Verstappen: I never get presents from the stewards!

Max Verstappen says he was "not surprised" to receive a grid penalty for the Qatar GP, but was nonetheless happy with his recovery to second place.

Verstappen Qatar
To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool/Getty Images

Max Verstappen was not surprised to be awarded a grid penalty for the Qatar Grand Prix, but was "happy" to take second place behind Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen was hit with a five-place grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently for double waved yellow flags during qualifying.

He started from seventh place and quickly moved up the order by overtaking three cars by Turn 2, before clearing Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso to get into second, where he remained for the rest of the Grand Prix.

"I knew already last night that I never get presents from them [the stewards], so it's OK," Verstappen told Sky Sports.

"Once I knew I was starting seventh, I was just very motivated to move ahead, and that's exactly what we did. We had a good first lap and then after five laps we were second again.

"I just tried keep the gap small, which we did throughout the whole race, so they couldn't do an extra stop. It gave me the fastest lap at the end, so I was definitely happy with that."

"We need to stay focused"

Verstappen's lead in the Drivers' Championship has been cut to eight points following Hamilton's victory.

The Dutchman was never able to threaten Hamilton, although he managed to take the extra point for the fastest lap of the race.

He admits that Red Bull were simply slower than Mercedes at the Losail International Circuit, and is aware that "a lot of things can happen" at the final two races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

"We were a little bit too slow, so of course, that means the race is going to be tricky as well," he commented.

"But we just need to try and stay focused. There are two races to go and as you can see, a lot of things can happen, even in qualifying, so anything is possible."

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