Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word.
The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires.
“Mate, this is the only chance of being close to the Mercedes,” Verstappen replied over the radio. “I’m not just sitting behind like a grandma.”
His own grandma, he later said, is actually “pretty quick in a road car.”
“I didn’t just want to sit behind, like I’ve been doing at the previous races all the time. So once I had the opportunity to put a bit of pressure on, I want to do that. So, I tried,” Verstappen said.
“I had a big moment once, when I was close to Lewis in turn 13, because it’s really hard to follow, even when I have the grip advantage with these cars, but of course then it was just impossible for them to continue, so they boxed [pitted], and that’s where my race started. But I hate sitting back, especially when you see that the car is actually pretty decent,” Verstappen said.
“Sometimes it can be a bit of suicide, killing your tires, trying to hang on desperately, but I don’t think that was the case today,” he said.
Verstappen had been second in the previous two races and third in the one before that, the Styrian Grand Prix in Austria.
If he had not retired in the Austrian opener with a technical problem while in second place, the gap to Hamilton would be a lot narrower, but he is under no illusions about the task ahead.
“I think that to fully close that gap will be very hard. I think today we were just very good on tires,” he said.
Hamilton compared his Pirelli tires to balloons after he and his teammate Valtteri Bottas suffered serious blistering problems.
Just a week after his dramatic victory on three wheels, with a punctured fourth, at the British Grand Prix, he said that he was afraid one of his tires might explode.
Three vehicles suffered tire failures at Silverstone on Aug. 2, but Pirelli pressed ahead with a decision to introduce softer tires running at higher pressures than previously, much to the concern of many teams.
The two Mercedes drivers finished second and third.
Hamilton said that Mercedes had struggled with their tires and had no immediate answer to the problem.
“It was a massive challenge today, but congratulations to Red Bull, and to Max. They did a great job” he said. “They didn’t have the problems that we had and it was unexpected for us to have the blistering as hard-core as we experienced.”
He said he was glad to have survived the race without a puncture and to have found some pace to claim second at the finish.
“I’m grateful to have progressed like I did. I was pushing pretty heavily,” Hamilton said.
“The team will work hard now identify our tire problems. Pirelli had tire failures last week — and then the pressure on them goes up and up and up so they’re like balloons, you know?” he said. “I’m not sure anyone else struggled with blistering like we did so we’ll look into it.”
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7