'Unfair' to pass Hamilton in traffic - Verstappen

Max Verstappen admitted capitalising on Lewis Hamilton's trouble with battling backmarkers would have been 'unfair' as the Dutchman settled for second place at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Monday, 17th September 2018, 9:53 am
Updated Monday, 17th September 2018, 10:58 am
Max Verstappen on the podium

World championship leader Hamilton had a comfortable lead become coming across battling Sergey Sirotkin and Romain Grosjean late in the race, allowing Verstappen to close up and pull a little alongside the Mercedes for the lead.

But with the traffic eventually negotiated, Hamilton restored his five-second cushion over the Red Bull to take the win, with Verstappen second.

It was vindication for Verstappen, who was in position to fight for the victory at the same race in 2017 before a first corner crash with both Ferraris prematurely ended his charge. Despite slipping behind Sebastian Vettel on the first lap, he jumped the Ferrari in the pits as he ran longer on his first stint to leapfrog the German and claim second.

Daniel Ricciardo

While his only sniff of a pass on Hamilton came in traffic, Verstappen admitted afterwards he felt it would have been unfair to pass there and then.

"When I got close to Lewis due to back markers I never really thought the pass would be possible," he said. "It’s hard to overtake here so I didn’t want to take the risk. It was also slightly unfair how he had been held up by drivers not getting out of the way.

"My only real chance to win was at the start, unfortunately it was a bit all over the place and I knew my chance had gone. Luckily the team had me on a great strategy and therefore managed to get me back into second place with a brilliant pit stop."

With the top six finishing in the same order they started, it led to something of a dull affair at the front. Daniel Ricciardo finished an uneventful sixth. Despite catching Vatteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen late in the day, the Australian was never in a position to pass.

Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium with race winner Lewis Hamilton

He said: "I really had to hope for a mistake or that Kimi and Valtteri would start tangling and I could capitalise. Street circuits are my favourite tracks to drive but they can also be frustrating.

"In Monaco I listened to Lewis in seventh place complaining about following closely and now I understand what he was complaining about. I think everyone was in the same boat. I would have loved to fight for something more today but I couldn’t."