Max Verstappen on 'driving like a grandma' message after F1 Anniversary GP triumph
'I'm not driving like a grandma'…even though my grandma is pretty quick in a road car!"
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 09/08/20 8:40pm
Max Verstappen celebrated what he admitted was a "very unexpected" victory over Mercedes in F1's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, in a race he had told his Red Bull team he would not be "driving like a grandma".
A virtuoso performance from Red Bull's Dutch star resulted in Mercedes' four-race winning streak at the start of F1's delayed season come to a sudden end in hot and humid conditions at Silverstone.
- How Verstappen and Red Bull caused F1 2020's first big upset
- 70th Anniversary GP report and full result
While Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas struggled with tyre management on their cars, Verstappen enjoyed a smoother ride in his RB16 and made the team's strategy calls work to perfection after they had gambled on the lone hard-tyre start in the grid's top 10.
"Very unexpected. I thought we were going to have a decent race but, yeah, crazy!" said Verstappen as he took his first win since last season's penultimate round in Brazil.
"Luckily, I had a good start luckily on that tyre [to overtake Nico Hulkenberg], it was a really good launch, and I needed a few laps because at the beginning that tyre is not bad what they had.
"Then I could see them dropping off and that the blistering on their tyre was massive, so I just tried to hang in there. At first they told me to back off a bit but I was like 'this is my only chance to fight them…'
Not that his radio message to his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, was delivered quite like that in the heat of battle.
Verstappen had actually replied: "Mate, this is the only chance of being close to the Mercedes' - I'm not just sitting behind like a grandma!"
Reminded of his message by Jenson Button, Verstappen joked: "Yeah, 'I'm not driving like a grandma'…even though my grandma is pretty quick in a road car!"
But none of his front-running peers were as quick as the Verstappen-Red Bull combination after that as they pressed home a developing advantage once the struggling Mercedes cars had pitted for fresh tyres.
"I was putting the pressure on, they boxed, and from then on my tyres just picked up and had even better pace. So I kept going and going, and even on my in-lap I was going faster," recounted the 22-year-old.
"I had a few cars ahead if me so I think it was the right call to box. Our stop was not perfect, but I was more or less side to side with Valtteri and had a tyre advantage, so I got past.
"Then I was just managing the pace, then he started to pick it up, I started to pick it uip, we boxes together again and from then on it was just a question mark who was going to be the fastest to the line and I never really had any trouble with my tyres."