Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn feels that the way Max Verstappen retired from the Azerbaijan GP won't have hurt him as much as people think.
Verstappen was set for victory in Baku to extend his lead in the championship until his left-rear tyre blew out with five laps to go, sending his car into a high-speed spin as he hit the wall. Brawn has described how he thinks Verstappen will have felt in the days after the race.
"I know as an engineer and having run things from the pit wall, plus from a driver’s perspective, if you have done everything you can and then the car breaks down or you suffer another issue, it’s frustrating but you know it’s out of your control and it softens the pain," Brawn wrote in his post-race column.
"When you get frustrated is when you make a mistake. Those are ones which are really gutting.
Even in my case, if it was a reliability problem, I would feel it like a punch in the stomach. If something weird happened, you can live with it."
Verstappen retained his four-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship following the seven-time world champion's mistake on the standing start restart which saw him lock his front tyres and go straight on at Turn 1.
Brawn believes Hamilton's error also helped Verstappen to remain calm after the race.
"Max drove a very good race – and deserved to claim victory," said Brawn. And with Lewis’ mistake at the end, it means the damage to his championship hopes wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
"It might explain why after his initial frustration in the heat of the moment, later on he was very pragmatic about what happened."