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Verstappen's Unfazed Win Strategy Skill Triumph

Verstappen’s Unfazed Win: Strategy & Skill Triumph

08/04/2024

Max Verstappen’s triumph at Suzuka wasn’t just about speed; it was a blend of strategic brilliance and unrivaled skill, showcasing his resilience and adaptability in the face of unexpected challenges and heated competition.

The Melbourne withdrawal didn’t disturb the reigning three-time world champion in the slightest: Max Verstappen delivered another masterclass this weekend at Suzuka, securing victory from pole position after a dominating performance, as is customary for him. The Dutchman also mentioned he gained momentum throughout the Grand Prix.

“I believe it’s a very, very good victory. It took me a few laps to get accustomed to the car, but I think the adjustments we made to the car before qualifying helped. After the first stint, some minor tweaks were made, which made me feel even more comfortable. Thus, whenever I needed to speed up, I could. Whenever it was necessary to conserve my tires, I did so. It’s always a very pleasing feeling when you’re behind the wheel. Whether it’s medium or hard tires… It’s possible that the hard tires were slightly more effective, but overall, with both types of compounds, I think we were very competitive.”

Although the Red Bull driver dominated the race effortlessly, it didn’t prevent a minor disagreement on the radio with his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, about the settings of his F1 car. He reflects on this incident with a broad smile.

“We had, not an argument, but he asked me if I was sure I wanted to do that, and I assured him I was. It turned out I was wrong. So, he was right. But in a way, it also motivates me because I think to myself: ‘OK, even if I’m not entirely happy with the balance now, I’m still going to try to be as consistent as possible without yelling at him.’ But we have an excellent relationship. And yes, it works well like that.”

Verstappen won with a 12-second lead over teammate Sergio Perez and 20 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, admitting he didn’t expect such large gaps earlier in the weekend.

“I wasn’t satisfied until qualifying, but we made some changes. And yes, of course, I can’t go into the details of what we did, but it helped during the race. It made the car much more enjoyable to drive and a bit more controlled.”

Clearly, the higher than expected temperatures this Sunday at Suzuka didn’t stop the RB20 from performing.

“I think, in general, of course, everything is a bit more challenging. When it’s warmer, you have a bit less grip. So, I think in the first few laps, you’re really trying to adapt to that. So, yes, I think overall, it worked out well for us. But it’s always a bit trickier when suddenly, throughout the weekend, you’ve been dealing with a certain temperature, and it increases slightly.”

“Not a relief” to win after Melbourne’s retirement

However, this victory on Honda’s home turf wasn’t necessary to boost the morale of the championship leader.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a relief; it’s just nice to win, and it’s nice, of course, to win here in Japan. It’s always an important race for us. You know, the fans, of course, support us a lot here, and it’s great, you know, to win here in front of Honda, and to have three cars scoring points as well. Of course, Melbourne was a bit of an incident, but what we did this Sunday is what we aim to do every weekend.”

Are we set for a long streak of victories by Red Bull and Verstappen now? Not necessarily, according to the Dutchman, who expects his RB20 to be less comfortable on certain types of tracks.

“I think looking at the history so far, urban circuits are generally a bit more difficult for us. I think our car has improved a bit, you know, at low speed. But of course, on a street circuit, it’s not just about slow speed, there’s also maneuverability, driving on curbs, over bumps. It’s the general behavior of the car. For now, we don’t yet know to what extent we’ve improved on that. So, we have to wait and see.”

Verstappen's Unfazed Win Strategy  Skill Triumph

Verstappen’s Unfazed Win: Strategy & Skill Triumph. Verstappen’s Unfazed Win: Strategy & Skill Triumph

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