The Scuderia Ferrari driver was in a comfortable second place to Lewis Hamilton only for the tread on his front left tyre to come off with just three laps remaining, necessitating a late pit stop, which saw him drop initially off the podium, before reclaiming the spot when team-mate Sebastian Vettel also had a tyre problem.
Running fourth on the road, Vettel was promoted to third when Raikkonen – who had been second – suffered a left-front puncture and was forced to pit with two laps to go.
Although Vettel complained about Verstappen’s defending during a fight in the first stint, the championship leader played down his radio messages after the race.
Recalling the moment the tyre delamination occurred, he said: “Everything was going more or less smoothly and in the end the gap was fine for us but then all of a sudden two laps from the end I don’t know what happened”.
Vettel said: “Hindsight is great, with hindsight it is easy, but at the time it felt OK”. “At the time it felt okay”.
“Kimi, I think had a similar issue and his tyres were I think five or six laps fresher”. “I’m interested to see what happens in the next race, I guess the Hungarian track should suit our auto better”. Disaster? I don’t think so. We had a good vehicle, especially in the corners, the balance was alright. “We did what we could but obviously there’s some work to be done to catch up the Mercedes in places like this”.
“In the race, the brakes caught fire from the start and from then it was a hard race”.
“I struggled a bit after that because the tyre was flapping around, but we managed to get a decent position”.
“Then it was looking like P3, P4. Small things here or there led to a busy afternoon”.
“It was clear that Valtteri would come, he benefitted at the beginning when I got stuck [behind Verstappen]”.
“It didn’t help me at all”, he added.
“I’m sure it looked good but I wanted to make it past but didn’t, quite tricky”.