Max Verstappen fourth at Chinese Grand Prix: 'Maximized result'

Published on 14 April 2019 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen finished fourth at the Chinese Grand Prix. On the Shanghai International Circuit, Verstappen, starting from fifth, managed to outdo Charles Leclerc as he was on a better strategy. This meant the youngster was once again able to add another twelve points to his tally. Lewis Hamilton took the victory home for the 1000th Formula 1-championship race. Valtteri Bottas’ second place added to the celebration at Mercedes, while Sebastian Vettel rounded up the podium.

After the race, Verstappen had the following to say: “I think there was not much more in the race. I was pushing really hard to try and stay with the front runners. I think as a team we did a good job today to undercut Ferrari and stay ahead as well. We just maximized the result.”

Max was the first one to stop from the top five. By doing this, he could slot in behind Vettel and even managed to launch attack on the German. The Dutchman explains: “I had a good battle with Vettel. He had colder tyres, so I just tried, but even after that you could clearly see that we didn’t have the pace to fight. I settled on bringing home fourth place and that was the best we could do.”

In the closing stages, Leclerc, on fresher tyres, was gaining on Max. Despite that, Verstappen was not bothered at all: “You just need to make sure that you run your own race. On the medium tyre it felt a bit better and Leclerc was luckily not fast enough to launch an attack.” 

With, once again, a fourth place finish, Max has been able to score some valuable points. This puts him third in the standings: “Absolutely, that is the maximum we can do at this moment.”

In dry conditions the 1000th race for the Formula 1-championship gets underway. The complete top five, including Max, start the race on the medium compound. Remarkably, Max spins in Turn three during the installation lap, but is able to continue on without any issues.

At the start, Verstappen gets well off the line and manages to keep fifth. Bottas, who started from pole, loses the lead in Turn one to his team mate Hamilton, while Charles Leclerc also made little work of his team mate Vettel.

In Turn five, Daniil Kvyat ran into Lando Norris quite severly. McLaren-team mate Carlos Sainz is also involved in the incident and both McLarens are forced to head back to the pits after the first lap. On lap eleven, Leclerc is instructed by his team to let Vettel by for third. Max is trailing both Ferrari’s by some two second at that moment in time.

Nico Hulkenberg is the first drop out on lap seventeen. The German is forced to park his Renault with technical difficulties in the pits. One lap later, Verstappen comes in. He swaps the medium compound tyres for a set of the harder ones. After a flawless stop, Verstappen rejoins in eighth on the track and overtakes Sergio Perez while doing so.

After his stop, Vettel rejoins the pack just ahead of Verstappen. The Dutchman sees an opportunity and launches an attack on the German after the straight at Turn fourteen. Max manages to pass Vettel, but exiting the hairpin, Vettel is able to pull away from the Dutchman because of better acceleration. Charles Leclerc is the last one from the top five to make his stop and drops way back behind Verstappen, which puts him fourth.

On lap 35, Max comes in for his second stop. The harder tyres are swapped for a set of the mediums. He rejoins the rest in fifth. This turns to fourth on lap 43 when Leclerc also does a second stop. Meanwhile Kvyat parks his Toro Rosso in the pits and becomes drop out number two of the race.

With two laps remaining, Pierre Gasly heads back in for a set of the softs to be strapped on to his car. The Frenchman is on the hunt for the fastest lap time and succeeds in getting it as well. This adds an extra point to his score.

At the front, Hamilton takes the chequered flag without any problem, followed by team mate Bottas. Vettel comes in third, while Verstappen trails by some fourteen second and comes in fourth fastest. Leclerc crosses the line some four second later than the Dutchman while Gasly is sixth. Daniel Ricciardo finishes seventh as ‘best of the rest’. Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen and Alexander Albon, who started from the pits, round up the top ten.

Results Grand Prix China:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes561:32:06.35025
2Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes56+6.552s18
3Sebastian VettelVETFerrari56+13.744s15
4Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda56+27.627s12
5Charles LeclercLECFerrari56+31.276s10
6Pierre GaslyGASRed Bull Racing Honda56+89.307s9
7Daniel RicciardoRICRenault55+1 lap6
8Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes55+1 lap4
9Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari55+1 lap2
10Alexander AlbonALBScuderia Toro Rosso Honda55+1 lap1
11Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari55+1 lap0
12Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes55+1 lap0
13Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari55+1 lap0
14Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault55+1 lap0
15Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari55+1 lap0
16George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes54+2 laps0
17Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes54+2 laps0
18Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault50DNF0
0Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda41DNF0
0Nico HulkenbergHULRenault16DNF0