Verstappen finished a minute behind race winner Valtteri Bottas

Verstappen pleased with P5 despite "lonely" Sochi race

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was pleased to consolidate fifth place for the team during what he called a "lonely" Russian Grand Prix.

Despite the Sochi Autodrom being one of the least-suited circuits to Red Bull on the calendar, the gap between the top three teams and the rest is such that the Dutchman was left in a void with the RB13 unable to compete with Ferrari and Mercedes.

"The start was very important today and ended up being the only action of the race for me," the 19-year-old claimed afterwards. "I managed to get past Felipe [Massa] and Daniel [Ricciardo] and from there on it was a very lonely race.

"I could see the cars in front of me pulling away and I was pulling away from the cars behind so I just tried to manage the car home."

Achieving the final goal of "managing the car home" took on extra significance after a water leak on Verstappen's car had threatened to end his race before it started.

"After the issues we had this morning luckily nothing upset me or the rhythm during the race so I just had to bring it across the line," he said.

"The mechanics did a really good job sorting the issue in such a small amount of time and giving me a car to complete the race in P5.

"The pace was not so bad in the last stint which is another positive to take away from this tough weekend," added.

"Towards the end you naturally start to turn things down on the car to be safe. We maximised the opportunities we had so now we can look forward to Barcelona, the upgrades are coming and we can hopefully start to get involved in the fight at the front."

The same could not be said for his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, as the Australian was forced to retire after just seven laps, his second DNF this season.

"After the Safety Car I looked in my mirror to see where the Force India was and I noticed that the right rear brake was on fire, I reported it to the team and they told me to bring the car back to the pits slowly", he said explaining what happened.

"Unfortunately the issue could not be fixed and I had to retire from the race. It was early in the race so I don’t know how much the Safety Car and two starts impacted us but the team will obviously investigate that.

"It’s frustrating, on a Sunday you just build up for the race and try to store up your adrenaline to use at 3pm but today it was over very quickly and unfortunately, I didn’t get as much of a fight as I would have liked.

"We don’t know how much the new package will give us until we get it on track in a few weeks but we are hoping Barcelona is the first step to getting closer to the leaders."

 

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