Max Verstappen says he hopes F1 NEVER returns to Portimao after Red Bull star endured frustrating Portuguese Grand Prix to lose out to Lewis Hamilton… but Dutchman insists Barcelona will level the playing field
An irritated Max Verstappen wished Formula One will never return to Portimao after the Dutchman conceded ground in the drivers’ championship to Lewis Hamilton following a frustrating Portuguese Grand Prix.
Verstappen impressed last time out at Imola by taking the victory but there were no repeat smiles in Portugal as he finished second.
The result, losing out to title rival Hamilton, keeps him eight points behind the Mercedes star and Verstappen turned his ire on his dislike for the Portimao circuit.
Max Verstappen was left bemused with the quality of track for the Portuguese Grand Prix
The Red Bull star (back) was beaten by title rival Lewis Hamilton on Sunday at Portimao
‘The whole weekend I didn’t enjoy because of the grip levels around here,’ Verstappen told Sky F1. ‘I hope we don’t come back.
‘Barcelona [venue for the next race] is good. It’s a nice track for an F1 car and I think we’ll see more of how the progression of the teams has been from the start of the season to today.
‘I was just clearly lacking a little bit of grip, a little bit of top speed, just not being able to put the pressure on Mercedes.’
Verstappen (left) was less-than-impressed as he wished F1 doesn’t return back to the circuit
Verstappen started third on the grid and while he finished ahead of pole sitter Valtteri Bottas, he was not satisfied with the display.
The Dutchman thought he had narrowed the gap in the standings to seven points after securing the fastest lap at the end – only to see that time deleted for breaching track limits, something that impacted him in Saturday’s qualifying.
‘Oh really? That’s a good one,’ Verstappen added when quizzed on it becoming a trend of his 2021 season.
‘That’s a bit odd because they weren’t checking track limits at Turn 14, but whatever.’
It is proving quite the fight between Hamilton and Verstappen as the Mercedes star chases a record-eighth world championship, taking him beyond Michael Schumacher.
Hamilton talked up the ‘immense’ pressure on drivers involved in this year’s title battle
Hamillton added: ‘None of us here are under any illusions as to just how hard it is, how close the battle is, and how we are all giving absolutely everything in our day-to-day lives to be the best prepared and to deliver.
‘The pressure is immense. Of course, it is great when you have a race like today where you are able to overtake and capitalise on the small margins.
‘But at the same time, Max gave us a great run for our money. We will continue to keep it clean and on the edge. It is down to the respect we have for one another and that is what makes great racing and great racing drivers.
‘It is going to be like this for the rest of the season. It is a great fight between Mercedes and Red Bull and it is clear we will be pushing right until the last race. We will be sick of each other by the end of it.’