Max Verstappen was in little doubt that Nico Rosberg deserved the five-seconds penalty that cost him a podium finish on home soil having come close to colliding with his Mercedes rival during the German Grand Prix.
Rosberg was attempting to battle back from a poor start and had not long left the pits after a routine tyre stop when he fired his W07 down the inside of Verstappen's Red Bull under braking at the turn six hairpin. Realising that the Silver Arrow was coming alongside, but not necessarily stopping in time for both to get around the corner unscathed, the Dutchman would off his steering, only for both cars to continue towards the outside of the corner.
RESULTS: German Grand Prix – Race results
Rosberg finally got his car straightened up without taking to the kerbs, but Verstappen's avoidance took the Red Bull over the blue-and-white track markers and onto the dirt beyond before he could recover.
“I think he was quite far (back) so he braked really late,” the teenager reported later, “I thought he was going to run into me so I opened up... and then he still didn't turn in. He was just driving straight, so I had to go off the track otherwise we would have crashed.”
Immediately on the radio to complain about the move, Verstappen would have been relieved to hear that his rival had been adjudged at fault and slapped with a time penalty, to be served at his third and final stop, meaning that the Red Bull just had to keep close enough to ensure that he came out on top once the penalty had been served.
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It was not all plain sailing for Verstappen, however, as he had complained about the performance of his RB12 on both the supersoft and soft Pirellis during his first two stints. With Rosberg needing to be reined in immediately after the pass, the Dutch youngster was asked to let team-mate Daniel Ricciardo – running on supersofts in his second stint – through, and the pair would go on to finish in that order after both were able to stay within five seconds of the Mercedes.
“[The move] happened and he got past so, for me, it was then just trying to stay within those five seconds to get him back after the pit-stop,” Verstappen confirmed, “The soft tyre was a little better but, of course, it's not as strong as the supersoft and I had Daniel behind me, who was charging on the supersoft, so I let him go by.”
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Although his pace improved again on a final set of supersofts – when his car had less fuel and less tendency to push on its tyres – Verstappen was just too far behind his team-mate to consider attempting to regain the second place he had seized around the outside of turn one at h start of the race, but insisted that joining Ricciardo on the podium was exactly the sort of result the team had hoped for heading into the summer shutdown.
“We had a really good start and, from there on, I think the pace was pretty good,” Verstappen recounted, “We chose to do two different strategies on the car, so I let Daniel by and, from then, I think we worked really well as a team to get a double podium. I'm not really interested in [my personal] feeling at the moment. It's a good result for the team and that's more important. The main target was to score more points than Ferrari and that's what we did today.”