After the Dutch Grand Prix, Max Verstappen said he expected Mercedes “to be a little bit slower”, and “expected Ferrari to be a little bit faster”.
At the Dutch Grand Prix, Mercedes seemed to have a realistic chance to challenge for victory, and for a big chunk of the race Lewis Hamilton was the fastest driver on the track.
After the race, eventual winner Max Verstappen, said he was surprised to see such pace from Mercedes.
“I was just surprised that they were that quick on the harder compounds,” the Dutch driver said.
“I have to say these tyres are very stiff, the C1 and C2. And they just didn’t seem to really switch on for us as good as they did for them.
“That’s I think what made it a little bit more complicated for us. But then once we were able to switch back to the soft, we could counter it.
“But yeah, I expected probably [Mercedes] to be a little bit slower. And I expected Ferrari to be a little bit faster.”
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Mercedes attempted to pull off a one-stop strategy by starting on medium tyres, before switching to hards, but two safety cars (one virtual and one real) prevented them from going through with it. However, when Hamilton switched to hards, he was the fastest man on the track.
“As soon as they swapped to the hard, I was quite interested to see their pace, because I never really wanted to go to a hard tyre,” Verstappen continued.
“But yeah, when I heard the laptimes, I was like, ‘that’s quite quick’. And I was trying to push up a bit. But they were still a few tenths faster.
“Very surprising that they made it work, that tyre around here. But then I knew, of course, it might get close to the end of the race, with the way our strategies were playing out.
“The gap after the VSC was still getting big enough to manage, but clearly they were quick in the race,” the Dutchman concluded.