Last week in Azerbaijan, Max Verstappen still had to acknowledge his superior in teammate Sergio Pérez, but this weekend the Dutchman struck hard. Starting from ninth position, he had to catch up in the hunt for Pérez, who did not name Verstappen, but Sainz and Alonso as major competitors before the race. Verstappen, however, managed a great catch-up race to take his 38th Grand Prix victory.
After the race, Verstappen took a seat in front of the microphone of Sky Sports F1, where the Dutchman was asked if he feels unbeatable after his winning catch-up race. “I always feel invincible,” said the world champion. “Other people can have a really good day, though, and then they can come close, or match you, or beat you. You always have to be close to perfect, but today wasn’t perfect. The weekend wasn’t perfect, but it’s a long season and I’m trying to get as close to perfection as possible.’
Two tire whisperers at Red Bull
Pérez has regularly been appointed tire whisperer in his career, but Verstappen also excels at this. In fact, it is often Verstappen who has this aspect slightly better under control than his teammate. “I’ve always been good at managing the tyres, but it’s about very small margins,” said Verstappen. “I think this has been a determining factor in many races over the years. If you can take good care of your tires, it will pay off.’
Today, both Red Bull drivers were perhaps even a little too careful with their tires. Pérez did not draw a gap with the competition in the beginning, while Verstappen also discovered halfway through the race that his tires were still in surprisingly good condition. ‘It went a little better than expected (in terms of tire degradation, ed.). I was kind of trying to understand how well the tires would hold up. I was a bit unsure about that at first, so I was a bit slower than I could have been, but that just made me faster after that. Then I was able to enlarge the hole again. After the pit stop I was only one or one and a half seconds behind him and with the fresher tires you can overtake.’