Max Verstappen was so far ahead of everyone else in the race that he got ‘bored’ and was asked to ‘slow down’ says Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Verstappen took away lead from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel from the outside at Turn 1 and raced ahead with no major attackers at his back.
When Vettel and Lewis Hamilton collided after Turn 1 and went to pits, Verstappen suddenly found himself unchallenged and far ahead of the rest of the teams.
His only major worry was his engine after seeing four out of six Renault engines failing at the high altitude. Red Bull asked the Dutchman to back off and turned down the engine to protect it from failure.
Being so far ahead and forced to a slower pace to save the tyres and the engine, Verstappen was at the edge of frustration.
“The big challenge in this race was to slow him down, not speed him up – which was very unusual,” said Horner.
“I think he got a bit bored out there at times. We kept trying to slow him down, and he was getting a bit frustrated that he couldn’t go any slower.
“He loves wheel to wheel racing. What he did in the first two turns, you could see after qualifying that he turned up at the racetrack and he wanted to win this race more than any other driver out there.”
After a while, Verstappen was discussing the idea of setting the fastest lap of the race, like what Vettel used to do earlier. The team did not want Verstappen to push the car too hard, but the idea of a bonus seems to motivate the Dutchman.
“We have a minor bonus system regarding fastest lap which I am thinking of eradicating,” said Horner.
“I instructed his engineer that under no circumstances tell him that Seb Vettel had relieved him of a few Euros.
“But then the danger for him is he is looking at the screens around the track and he can see it for himself, anyway. The important thing was bringing the car home, which is what he did.”