Verstappen and Perez say “it’s all fine” between them following hairy first lap in Austria sprint

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Photo credit: Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing had a perfect Saturday of the second Sprint weekend of the year. A 1-2 during the shootout was followed up by a 1-2 in the Sprint itself, albeit with a little tussle between Verstappen and Pérez at the start.

The Dutchman had the better reaction, but a little wheelspin meant his Mexican teammate could get alongside into turn 1. A poor exit meant Verstappen could get alongside him and was subsequently pushed onto the grass. The reigning world champion didn’t like that, judging by the aggression he showed when passing Pérez into turn 3.

According to Checo, it was a matter of poor visibility: “I think Max was angry that I went into turn 2, but I didn’t see him there.

“I just had a very bad turn 1, so tried to protect, but I realised he was there, I opened up the door and gave the place back in turn 2.

“But it’s all fine, we just spoke about it. Although we were 1 and 2, the visibility out there was very bad.”

The two did indeed have a little chat before the post-race interviews and Verstappen also did not seem to be too annoyed by the situation anymore.

“It was a little bit of a hairy moment out of turn 1, and of course when you get forced onto the grass it’s very slippery. But we managed to keep the car under control and from there on we just did our race again.”

And what a race it was, gaining 21 seconds on his teammate in just 24 laps. It was smooth sailing after the first lap, and a pit stop for slicks wasn’t needed, as the tyres were good until the end.

“The start wasn’t ideal, a bit of wheelspin, but after lap 1, once we got back in the lead, it was good. Just managing the tyres, knowing that if it wasn’t gonna rain anymore 24 laps on an intermediate is quite a lot, but they were hanging in there.

“I think of course the last 5 laps the slicks were quite a bit faster, but I think for us so far in the lead it didn’t make sense to pit. We just hang in there with the inters, which worked well.”

Pérez had a bit of a tough time getting past Nico Hülkenberg after the start, but once he managed that it was also a case of managing the tyres and bringing the car home.

“We had a good start, had a bit of a fight with Max, and ended up losing a position to Nico. He was very strong in the first few laps, so [it] was quite hard to get by him.

“I think once I got Nico it was all about managing the tyre to make sure that we made it till the end, because otherwise it would have been really easy to really miss out, especially with people boxing into the slicks.

“I think once I went by Nico it was just bringing it home.”