“It’s difficult to say, but I think because we were starting at the back, we could choose our tyres which gave us the best strategy,” Verstappen said when asked where Red Bull could have been without the penalties. “It’s a bit difficult to say if we’d have qualified fifth or sixth what we could have done. We would have been in the fight.”
Verstappen said that his goal was always to be fifth, but says the style in which he got there made the result even sweeter: “Yeah, very pleased with it. The goal was always to be fifth, but the way in which we did it today, I think we can be very pleased with that."
"It was a good launch [at the start], and then even while turning I had good traction. And I tried to follow a bit in the tow. There’s a lot of dust actually going on. You don’t really see it as much as in the car."
Verstappen stopped with just 10 laps to go, with the expectation being that he would emerge on much fresher tyres and chase after Kimi Raikkonen for fourth place. However, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner revealed that he was saving his engine for future races.
"The other compounds were very fragile, so we stopped as late as we could, but we could see already they were starting to chunk up a little bit. At that point you are too far behind Kimi to have a go at him, so it was a question of we took the penalty of the engines here, let's save these now for the races coming up."