Leclerc DNF in Baku 'lucky' for Verstappen but 's**t happens'

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Max Verstappen admits he was a "tiny bit lucky" that Charles Leclerc failed to finish the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Monegasque lost the lead to Sergio Perez at the start but then reclaimed it by making a cheaper pit-stop under the Virtual Safety Car caused by Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz suffering a hydraulics problem.

After Verstappen changed tyres several laps later, he was faced with having to catch Leclerc for the remainder of the race, until Charles had his second engine-related retirement in three races.

Giving the Dutchman a clear path to claim his fifth victory of the season. 

“You can never make up what you lost last year, but I think today we had an incredible pace in the car,” he said in Parc Ferme on if his win in Baku made up for the likely one he lost in 2021.

"Of course, also [we were] maybe a tiny bit lucky because of the retirement [for Leclerc], but I think, nevertheless, our car was really quick today, so I could have closed that gap.

“Then of course you have a race on your hands but, overall, [I’m] really happy with how the balance of the car was today.

"At the end, to have a 1-2 as a team as well, it was a really good day for us."

Asked what advice he would give Leclerc during his ongoing tricky run of results, the reigning champion was supportive. 

"I would always say shit happens," Verstappen responded. "That's racing.

SI202205210343 news

"It happened to me, it happened to many people in the past. Unfortunately, it's happening to Charles.

"If I will be in the same situation, I would also be disappointed. I think that's very normal.

"Stay on it, because it's about how you come out of it," he added. "You always look at how to improve things. That's what we did as well in the beginning of the season.

"You learn from it, you don't like it, you're angry, but we turned it around.

"But you always have to stay on it because something else might happen and you always have to prevent these issues from happening."