Verstappen ‘enjoys’ Honda event: ‘Hope you enjoy how we behaved like idiots’

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Verstappen 'enjoys' Honda event: 'Hope you enjoy how we behaved like idiots'

The Wednesday before the Japanese Grand Prix is ​​a busy media day for the drivers of Red Bull Racing and Visa Cash App RB. The gentlemen are expected at the circuit on Thursday due to media obligations, but the band of engine supplier Honda provides extra events for Max Verstappen, among others.

After the gentlemen were already gathered for the F1 Tokyo Festival, the Honda Japanese GP Welcome Session 2024 was also on the program for Verstappen, Sergio Pérez, Yuki Tsunoda, and Daniel Ricciardo. The event started with some more serious questions. “We have significantly changed the concept of the car,” Pérez says when asked. ‘Ultimately, in terms of driving, it feels quite similar to last year.’

Competition is breathing down your neck

Pérez sees that this year will be more exciting than in 2023, when Red Bull won 21 of the 22 Grands Prix. ‘The other teams have clearly closed the gap. You often see it, especially in qualifying, that everyone is within half a tenth. So one or two tenths can make a big difference in the qualifications,” the Mexican realizes. ‘That applies not only to the qualifying sessions, but also during the races. I enjoy how we are doing now, but it will also be nice to see how we do on a completely different track, like Suzuka.’

The Mexican further explained that his weekend preparation follows many set patterns. ‘When I’m at the track I always try to keep a fixed routine. You sometimes have to take into account that the schedule may differ slightly, depending on media obligations. So it is always difficult to maintain the same routine, because in Formula 1 something always changes. You try to stick to the things that work well in your preparation.’

Superstition

“I am not superstitious myself,” says Ricciardo, who mainly wonders whether his colleagues are superstitious. “I don’t have lucky underwear,” Verstappen makes clear, although the gentlemen think that Ricciardo is superstitious. Verstappen looks at Ricciardo questioningly, and Pérez also suspects the Australian. “I’m sure Daniel has a lucky pair of underwear, I think he always wears the same ones.” However, Ricciardo continues to deny: “I wear the same underpants four days in a row, but I’m not superstitious,” the 34-year-old laughs.

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daniel ricciardo visacashapprb australia
Daniel Ricciardo is still looking for his first points of 2024. Teammate Yuki Tsunoda already has six points.

Verstappen does not give up, and shares with the audience: “Daniel has a Spotify playlist for while driving,” said the 26-year-old. Ricciardo himself sees that. ‘I would like to be able to listen to music during the race, but the music depends a bit on how I did in qualifying. If I have to start from the back, it will probably be more aggressive music, because I have to overtake people. When I’m in pole position, the music is a bit more chill.’

Verstappen thanks the circuit

During the event, which is largely held in Japanese, drivers are asked to take part in a quiz and have to draw the Suzuka circuit on a board. Verstappen concluded the session with a word of thanks to the audience present. “Thank you all for being here. I hope you all enjoyed watching us act like idiots. It’s always nice to be in Japan again,” Verstappen smiles.

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