Max Verstappen admits he was nervous about retiring from the lead of the Mexican Grand Prix after seeing Red Bull Formula 1 teammate Daniel Ricciardo hit by another mechanical problem.

The Dutchman controlled proceedings throughout to claim his second successive victory in Mexico City with an impressive drive to finish ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

But when Ricciardo dropped out of contention in what marked his eighth retirement of the season with 10 laps to go due to a suspected hydraulic issue, Verstappen was worried about the health of his own Renault power unit.

Renault Vs Red Bull

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Asked if he was nervous about suffering a similar issue, Verstappen replied: “Yeah, of course.

“Without the issue for Daniel we could have had a one-two or at least two cars on the podium. Then of course afterwards it was making sure I didn’t retire.

“You just want to make sure that nothing happens, we were that far in the lead there was no pressure you can always turn it down.”

Verstappen believes the key to his race win was the start, as he muscled his way past the fast-starting Lewis Hamilton at Turn 1 after Ricciardo had bogged down off the line.

“The start was the key, it was very important,” he said.

“Of course Lewis didn’t want to risk anything and from there on I was able to do my own thing. That was very crucial to the race.

“To be honest I didn’t sleep very well last tonight, I was really determined to win today. Luckily we did that - amazing job by the team as well. We had the right tyres available and the car was working really well.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner put Verstappen’s fifth win in F1 down to his sheer focus and determination to make a strong getaway.

“You could see from the moment he arrived at the track this morning, you can see the determination in his eyes,” he said.

“We had a debrief, and we talked about scenarios and you could tell his focus was at the start. Then he got the lead, and was able to really command it from there.

“For Max to win the race today is a continuation of Austin really. I mean he just drove an incredible race. The thing that feels bittersweet is that we should’ve had them both up there but focusing on Max for now, it was an incredible performance.”

 

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