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Verstappen’s Portimao F1 mistakes don’t concern Red Bull

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The Dutchman has had a frustrating time at Portimao as high-profile mistakes ended up derailing his chances of overthrowing Mercedes.

A violation of the track limits cost him pole position on Saturday, while an error in the opening stages of the race allowed Lewis Hamilton to close in on him and initiate a pass.

Then, on the last lap of the race, another track limit moment resulted in the Dutchman losing his fastest lap – and with it a world championship point.

But while the errors turned out to be critical on a weekend when good margins decided the battle between Red Bull and Mercedes, Verstappen boss Christian Horner says he has no concerns about a weakness under pressure.

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Instead, he suggests such stumbles are inevitable when a driver has to push as hard as Verstappen in his battle to beat Mercedes.

He also points out that it was Hamilton who was more cute, following Imola’s mistake which led the world champion to go off the track and cross the barriers.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, battles with Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“I obviously think we have to be perfect, but I think there are strengths and weaknesses in the cars,” said Horner.

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“Let’s not forget that Lewis missed the ball quite significantly at Imola a few weeks ago, and came off quite lightly.

“So it’s inevitable, when you push the boundaries, like these guys are, then it all comes down to those nice margins.

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“And I obviously think the whole track limit debate is just frustrating.

“I mean it was brutal for us in the first three events: victory in Bahrain, pole position yesterday and then the fastest lap. So it cost us quite a bit.”

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Verstappen says the racing error that got Hamilton to get behind him was so small he hardly thought it was costing him much time.

“It was just really close between the three of us,” he said.

“I tried to attack Valtteri [Bottas] but the whole time I couldn’t get close enough in those last two corners and then race to the straight.

“As I pushed, I had a little wobble, but I didn’t really lose a lot on that. And then Lewis was already very close behind and he led me into turn 1. ”

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