Max Verstappen explained that his engine went into a safety program off the start, leading to him dropping down to P10. The Dutchman was able to recover to finish on the podium places, ending the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in P3.
The Red Bull man made it five straight podiums to end the season, including taking victory in Mexico City. Having started the race on the hypersoft tyres, he needed a good getaway. But that was not the case at Yas Marina.
“It was not an easy race, Verstappen admitted. – I had a problem off the start. Actually the launch was good but then my engine went into, like a safety program and I had it again in the restart afterwards.
Despite the issues, and dropping down into the midfield, Verstappen was able to fight his way back, and almost get into the top two.
“It was not easy but we managed to go back into a good position and put a bit of pressure on the guys ahead,” he added. “I think that we stopped quite early but I had to because I was on the hypers.”
The end of the race was not easy for the Dutchman, as Pierre Gasly’s Honda engine was spewing oil in front of him as he came up to lap the Toro Rosso.
“Then we managed to keep the supersoft alive and I had a good pace but the last few laps were not easy. There was a Toro Rosso leaking oil onto my helmet so I couldn’t really see where I was going but in the end, I was really happy with third.”
His teammate Daniel ricciardo added:
“It wasn’t the most exciting race. I led a bit, that was fun, but it just put me out of reach then with the leaders. I don’t know if we had many options. We could have pitted early and kept track position. It’s always hard to know.”
Lewis pitted really early, and I don’t think anyone thought that would go to the end so strongly. I was just a bit helpless at the end, I couldn’t really do much. The pace advantage [on new tyres] initially was strong then it fell away quite quickly. We just weren’t quick enough.
I would have loved a podium. I can’t be ecstatic with fourth, to be honest. It was a bit lonely the last few laps. I couldn’t really do much more.”