Palmer speaks of Verstappen’s sixth sense: ‘That gives Max so much speed’

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Palmer speaks of Verstappen's sixth sense: 'That gives Max so much speed'

Jolyon Palmer has measured Max Verstappen’s driving style in terms of turn-in. The former Formula 1 driver concludes that the Red Bull Racing driver is a lot faster than the other drivers due to his unique driving style. Palmer concludes that Verstappen has a kind of sixth sense when he gets into the car. As a result, the difference with Sergio Pérez on normal circuits is often very large.

Last season the difference between Verstappen and Pérez was again very large, despite Red Bull taking a one-two in the championship. ‘Pérez is a very fast driver, we have also seen that in his Formula 1 career. However, he is having a hard time at Red Bull,” Palmer told F1TV. According to the former Renault driver, this is mainly due to the fact that the Red Bull car has to be driven in a specific way. ‘Verstappen also has one of the most unique driving styles on the entire grid.’

Palmer indicates that Verstappen would much prefer more balance at the front of the car, which gives the car a natural tendency to oversteer. ‘Verstappen always knows how to keep this under control by braking and steering very smoothly.’ For comparison, Palmer takes the qualifying laps of Verstappen and Pérez at Suzuka, where the Dutchman convincingly took pole position and won the Grand Prix.

Because Verstappen likes a more aggressive front, he is able to carry a lot of speed into the first corner of the circuit. In Palmer’s eyes, Pérez clearly has more difficulty. ‘For Verstappen it all looks very smooth, allowing him to maintain a higher speed at the apex. Checo really has to fight with the car. He really struggles to get his car through the bend and has to make small corrections. Max doesn’t have to struggle with the car at all. That gives him a lot of self-confidence.’

Verstappen’s sixth sense

Verstappen is therefore not afraid that he will lose control of the car due to oversteer. In low-speed corners the difference between the two drivers fades a bit. ‘That’s why Pérez is so good on street circuits, because he has very aggressive inputs. You can do that on a street circuit, because there are often ninety-degree bends. Max cannot benefit from his very smooth driving style there, as he can on a circuit like Suzuka.’

In Bahrain the difference between the two drivers also becomes clear. Once again Pérez fights the car and has to make several steering corrections. ‘With Verstappen it all happens in one fluid movement. Max has a great feeling for his car and he almost has a sixth sense to sense where the grip is. As a result, he gets his car through a corner much faster than the rest of the drivers and that just gives Verstappen so much speed over a lap,” said Palmer.

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