Verstappen: Starting on mediums wouldn't change Portuguese GP result

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Max Verstappen doubts starting on mediums would have made any difference to his final result at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The Dutchman followed the two Mercedes' home in third at Portimao, finishing over half a minute behind race winner Lewis Hamilton.

But his race was almost over before it barely started as he and Sergio Perez collided at Turn 4 on the opening lap.

“It was very low grip,” Verstappen reflected. “I just tried to stay out of trouble.

"Of course, I had a little touch with Sergio but he didn’t give me enough space so he basically took himself out. From there onwards, it was raining a little bit so [I was] just trying to keep the car on the track.

“Once everything was stabilised I overtook the McLaren - they had a lot of grip on the first lap, I don’t know how - and then I did my own race.

"Once I went onto the medium tyre we had good pace, but of course then the gap is already so big that you can’t really do anything.”

Throughout the race, Verstappen found himself on one-step softer compound than Mercedes, having decided to use the soft tyre in Q2 versus Hamilton and Bottas on the mediums.

However, even if Red Bull had chosen the same approach, Max believes he would have simply struggled at a different stage of the race.

“They were on the hard tyre [after the pit-stop], I think that tyre was not amazing," he said. "Today I think the medium tyre was definitely the best tyre.

“So it wouldn’t have mattered [if] I would’ve started on the medium because then I would’ve lost more time on the hard. Overall I think we finished where we deserved.”

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His Red Bull boss Christian Horner wasn't so sure, though.

"The tyres were a little bit of a black art today," he commented. "I mean, the soft tyre was difficult to get going, and the medium tyre looked to be the best of the range.

"I think with 20/20 hindsight, if we could have done qualifying again, we would probably obviously look to start on the mediums.

"Max hung in there on the first lap, while Alex [Albon] lost some ground, and then he was able to settle in and obviously, look after the tyres as best he could.

"Max got pretty decent range, and then got on the medium and was much happier on that tyre.

"But of course, Mercedes were significantly up the road by that point in time. So that's where we were.

"So P3 I think was the optimum for Max, but obviously a more difficult afternoon for Alex."