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Second is like winning after crash says Verstappen

Red Bull mechanics racing to repair Verstappen's car after pre-race crash
Red Bull mechanics racing to repair Verstappen's car after pre-race crash Mark Thompson POOL/AFP
3 min
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Budapest (AFP)

Max Verstappen said his second place in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix felt like a victory after he had crashed on the parade lap before the race on his way to the grid.

The Dutchman managed to nurse his Red Bull to the grid with damaged suspension for his mechanics to defy expectations by completing all repairs in around 20 minutes.

He thanked them on team radio shortly before the start of the race.

"It was not how I wanted it in the beginning, of course, ending up in the barriers on the lap to the grid," said Verstappen.

"But the mechanics did an amazing job to fix the car. I don’t know how they did it, but incredible! So to pay them back with second place, I’m very pleased with that…

"I thought I wasn’t going to race so to be second is like a victory today.”

He added: “The first lap was very crucial and from there on we had the right calls and we had good pace so we just kept doing our own thing.

"And of course, to be able to split the two Mercedes cars is good for us. It was ‘just in time’ but everything was working like normal!”

Verstappen resisted intense late pressure from Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes to take a narrow second ahead of the Finn by just a fraction of a second.

"I was just trying to do my own pace.,” he said. “Of course, I could see he was catching like a second a lap – but, following here is quite tricky so as soon as he was within one and a half seconds it was difficult for him.

"Then, on the last lap, we had traffic in front, which didn’t make it easier for me on those old tyres, but we managed to hang on and I am very happy with second.”

Team boss Christian Horner said: “Max redeemed himself. On the lap to the grid, on the ‘inters’, he did his best to go off -- I think he went off three times.

"He was going to come into the pits because he thought it was all over, but we could see from the TV that it was mainly the push rod.

"The mechanics on that car have done an amazing job today getting that turned around in 20 minutes in something that would usually take an hour and a half…

"I think we completed it with 25 seconds to go when the wheel went on and the sweat was dripping off the guys, looking at them work there was amazing."

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