Max Verstappen has said Red Bull had the pace to fight with the frontrunners in the 2023 Singapore GP if the timing of safety cars during the race had gone the team’s way.
Verstappen started the race at Marina Bay down in 11th after struggling with the car all weekend, and while the Dutchman rallied to finish fifth, victory for Ferrari and Carlos Sainz brought his record breaking run of wins to an end.
Red Bull gambled with staying out and going long during the first stint of the race on the hard tyres, but as both Verstappen and Sergio Perez began to run low on grip, they were forced to pit and the strategy failed to pay off as hoped for.
However, Verstappen said that he believed that if the timing had worked out differently the team still had the pace to battle with Ferrari and Mercedes up front.
“I think everything went against us as well in the race with the safety cars,” Verstappen told media after the race.
“So it was possibly also the worst case scenario, because I really think that if the safety cars had worked out a little bit more in our favour I would actually have been fighting with the guys, because I think that especially that last stint was quite easy.”
Issues with the RB19 dogged the Milton Keynes-based outfit throughout the weekend in Singapore, with the usually predictable and untouchable car looking difficult to control and prompting criticism from both drivers.
But Verstappen said that the car felt much better in race trim, as it has throughout the season, and he wasn’t overly concerned going into next week’s Japanese GP.
“They were still there a bit but to a lesser extent, and normally of course our car is usually better than in the race,” Verstappen said.
“I think you could see that again today in the race, especially on the medium tyres at the end, we had good pace. I was managing of course my tyres in that last stint to try and get to the end, but I was quite happy.”