Gabriel Bortoleto, the Formula 3 champion and part of the McLaren junior team, is impressed by Max Verstappen. The driver who drives under the management of Fernando Alonso did not see the Red Bull Racing driver make a single mistake in a tough race. Even when the three-time world champion really came under pressure, he managed to increase the pace and then secure the victory.
Verstappen recorded his seventeenth victory of this season last weekend. The Red Bull driver already held the record for most Grand Prix victories in one season, but this record was further strengthened at Interlagos. The Dutchman’s performances also stand out in the entry-level classes of Formula 1. ‘I think everything Max has done this year, and especially the race, is very special. He is very good because of his consistency. He just doesn’t make mistakes,” says Bortoleto on the F1 Nation podcast.
Verstappen no longer had to look back after a small attack from Lando Norris. The three-time world champion was able to manage the pace, something he has done many times this season. ‘It’s very easy to make a mistake because this is a very long race. You have 71 laps to make a mistake, but Max manages to keep driving practically the same times in these 71 laps. That’s very impressive. That’s why he’s the best on the grid at the moment.”
‘Then Verstappen increased the gap by one and a half seconds’
Norris’ attack came fairly early in the race. At the restart after the red flag, the Briton was on fresh softs, which gave him an advantage in the first phase. Verstappen managed to repel Norris’s attack and quickly expanded into a larger lead. ‘The moment Verstappen realized that Norris had a realistic chance of overtaking him, he increased the gap by one and a half seconds. Lando and McLaren did very well, but to catch Max you just need two or three tenths extra.’
Bortoleto impressed by mentor Alonso
Behind Verstappen and Norris, Alonso made an excellent impression. The Spaniard managed to resist the pressure from Sergio Pérez, allowing the protégé of the Aston Martin driver to speak highly of his mentor. ‘Fernando is a legend. It doesn’t matter which team he is on or what position he is in, he always gives 100 percent. I admire that about him. The same thing happened during this race. Pérez overtook him, but he gave everything to get back at him,” said Bortoleto.