Verstappen was "really reserved" in Hamilton battle

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Verstappen was "really reserved" in Hamilton battle
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May 26, 2019, 6:15 PM

Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner says Max Verstappen was "really reserved" in holding back and waiting for an opportunity to pass Lewis Hamilton in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Verstappen finished second on the road after his attempt to pass Hamilton in the closing laps at the chicane saw contact made but the two drivers continue in the same positions.

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Verstappen has been carrying a five-second time penalty after an unsafe release into the path of Valtteri Bottas at his pitstop under the safety car, and when that was added, he dropped back to fourth behind Sebastian Vettel and Bottas, an outcome that Horner called "bitter."

"Unfortunately contact was made in the pits, and Max got the penalty," said Horner. "Tough for him because he drove a mighty race, he drove with all his heart, but P4 feels a little bit bitter after such a great drive.

"But it is what it is, the stewards made a decision that they thought was fair for them, and we have to accept that. His only chance was to pass Hamilton and pull out the five seconds.

"He deserved to be on the podium today. The encouraging thing is that the performance is right there, he was pushing, pushing, pushing, he fought like a lion, tried to make the pass on Lewis, and it was worth a go."

Horner said Verstappen showed patience by waiting for the right opportunity.

"I thought he was really reserved, he was building up, building up. That was really the only one big chance he had, and he went for it, which is Max.

"Nonetheless, good to get both cars home on the top five. Pierre [Gasly] drove a great race today, after the penalty he had yesterday, P5 was a good result for him."

Honda F1 boss Toyoharu Tanabe said the Japanese company was encouraged by earning second on the road with one of its cars on a day when all four finished in the points.

"The result on paper is the result," he told Motorsport.com. "So we're a little disappointed. Max's race today encouraged our engineers very much – not only engineers, but also some supporters. We're happy to have a good race for all four Honda cars.

"In Monaco, it is very difficult to evaluate the power unit performance. We're still in the catch-up phase, we're not better than Ferrari! But as a package, it's still up and down. Up, down, up down. Mercedes is always up, up up, up. So we'll see."

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