Max Verstappen had no concerns as he came up behind Valtteri Bottas at the Dutch Grand Prix, saying the Finn “races hard but fair”.
Starting from pole position, Verstappen led the Dutch Grand Prix through to the first round of pit-stops. Covering Lewis Hamilton’s stop, the Red Bull driver came back out in P2 with Bottas leading the grand prix by just over 10 seconds.
Despite his soft tyres going off, Mercedes left the Finn out in the hope he could hold up Verstappen and allow Hamilton to close the gap. That lasted all of one lap.
Verstappen, on fresher tyres, easily caught the Mercedes driver but was not quite close enough on his first attempt to pass him. His second was successful.
Bottas ran deep at Turn 11, allowing Verstappen to close up on him, the Dutchman making an easy overtake with DRS into Turn 1.
Verstappen says he was never concerned about Bottas doing anything risky as he came to pass him.
“It was fine,” he said. “Valtteri’s a very fair racer. He races hard but fair, so I always felt good about it.
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“Of course, I knew it was critical to get by at one point.
“We had already pitted and I could see Valtteri was really struggling on his tyres that had really low grip.
“The first time I had DRS I just couldn’t get by but the second lap, yeah, I don’t think there was much life left in the tyres, so out of Turn 11-12 was already super close and I actually, I didn’t lose too much through 13 and so I could get by, but everything was okay.”
That was Verstappen’s one and only overtake of the afternoon, the Dutchman taking the win ahead of Hamilton.
“The whole race it was quite close between myself and Lewis, he was really putting the pressure on,” he said.
“He was putting some great laps together and I think also after the final stop, at one point on the medium tyres, and I was on the hard tyres, but luckily it was enough at the end.
“Seventy two laps around here, pushing – yeah, it was satisfying. It was cool.”