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Fifth was the Max result for Verstappen in Brazil

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix
© XPB 

Max Verstappen admitted that fifth place was the best he could have realistically achieved in this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver started from the second row of the grid in fourth place. He held the position for much of the race, but was ultimately unable to fend off Lewis Hamilton toward the end.

The Mercedes had been staging a comeback drive from the back after suffering a disastrous qualifying.

"It was definitely the best position we could do today," Verstappen said after the chequered flag. "We just lost out a lot on the straights, as you could see when Lewis passed me. We have no chance on this track. It's really hard.

"This is not a track that suits our car," he admitted.

"On the positive side, the first 10 or 15 laps of a stint we were competitive. But then you try to compensate what you lose on the straights.

"You then try and catch up on the corners, but you ask too much of the tyres and get more drop-off," he explained. "Then it just gets a bit more difficult.

"Of course I hoped for more in the race but it was a difficult situation, but I think we maximised the result and that was fifth."

Verstappen became so frustrated with his second set of soft compound tyres that he talked the team into allowing him to make a late pit stop.

"I didn’t want to drive the last ten or 15 laps with difficult tyres," he explained. "And at the end of the day I wasn’t going to lose a position, so we decided to make a second pit stop."

His boss, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, agreed that Verstappen had done everything he could this weekend.

"We were having to push very hard to try and keep up with the leading pack," he explained. "That in turn took its toll on the tyres, then you become a little bit limited in your stint length.

"After Max got caught and passed by Hamilton we made a precautionary stop to get him to the finish."

Verstappen was able to pit and get back out without losing position. However he was also now too far back to do anything about catching the top four. Instead, he found a new objective for his fresh set of supersofts.

"From there on the race was gone but I pushed for the fastest lap," he said. "I didn’t get it in Mexico, so I’m really pleased to take it here."

The new set of tyres saw him set a best time of 1:11.044s on lap 64 of the 71-lap race. It eclipses the previous race record of 1:11.473s set by Juan Pablo Montoya in a Williams in 2004.

But despite that late burst of speed, there was nothing that could realistically have improved Verstappen's final position.

"If the four cars would have crashed!" he laughed, before adding more soberly: "It's a mechanical sport, anything can happen."

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