Fourth for Verstappen as Gasly retires for Red Bull in Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Azerbaijan proved to be a fairly anonymous affair for Red Bull Racing as Max Verstappen took fourth and Pierre Gasly was forced into retirement in Baku.
Verstappen briefly dropped to fifth place at the start, slipping behind fast-starting Racing Point man Sergio Perez. However, a swift move from the Dutchman saw him retake fourth spot, where he remained for the rest of the race.
Gasly's weekend was heavily compromised on Friday when he missed the signals to stop at the weighbridge, meaning he would have to start Sunday's race from the pitlane. Running a lot longer on his opening stint, the Frenchman battled through the pack and was running as high as sixth before a driveshaft failure saw him pulling off the circuit to retire.
Despite his issues throughout the weekend though, Gasly, who has come under pressure from some media outlets for his lacklustre start to life at Red Bull, believes he is making steps in the right direction.
"Starting from the pit lane, we knew it would be tricky to fight at the front but we had a car fast enough to come back and score good points," he said afterwards. "Things in the race went pretty well and we got to P6 but unfortunately we didn’t make it to the end as I had a driveshaft failure.
"Overall, I’m adapting myself and we’re going in the right direction. I think the car’s a bit more predictable and I’ve changed my approach in the car too. I still need to work on some things but each weekend it’s improving and together with the Team, we’re going in the right direction."
Verstappen meanwhile dropped to fourth place in the championship standings, with Sebastian Vettel's third place seeing him claim the position by a point.
Verstappen said: "In general we had a good race. I always had the Mercedes and Ferrari in sight and I was just trying to close the gap. At the start I was blocked and couldn’t really brake deep into the corner, which allowed Perez to get past me. Of course, that lost me a bit of ground but you don’t want to risk everything on Lap 1. Once I got back past, we went a little bit longer than the others on the soft tyre and I had a good feeling with the car.
"We had good pace, especially on the medium tyre in the second stint where I closed the gap by seven or eight seconds. With the Virtual Safety Car, I think I lost too much tyre temperature and I couldn’t get it back as quickly as the others. Around here, tyre temperature is key and you end up sliding a lot more with low temperatures so it wasn’t worth risking the position in the final laps.
"The performance in Barcelona will of course depend on the upgrades that everyone is bringing but hopefully we can be even more competitive and close the gap even further."