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Max Verstappen

Verstappen concerned by Qatar 'question marks'

Could the Dutchman be thwarted by the Sprint format as he aims to seal his third F1 title?

Verstappen Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen has conceded there are "a lot of question marks" as F1 returns to the Lusail International Circuit this weekend.

The Qatar Grand Prix has featured only once on the calendar before this season having been a late addition in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.

The country's focus on hosting duties for the FIFA World Cup last year meant the race did not return, though a 10-year contract is now underway to keep the sport at the venue.

Since the last time F1 arrived at Lusail, extensive upgrades have been made to the infrastructure to better suit the needs of the sport, as well as a resurfacing of the tarmac.

Tyre wear is expected to be high, however, with kerbs set to test the underbody of cars and a Sprint weekend further complicating matters - with only one practice session afforded to drivers for acclimatisation.

"A lot of question marks, we have prepared the best way possible in the simulator but with the tarmac, we don't know," said Verstappen ahead of the weekend.

"It is going to be very windy which will also make it very difficult for the cars because with these new generation of cars being so big and wide, they are quite sensitive to wind.

"So a lot of unknowns but I like to come here, it is a beautiful track to drive and a lot of fun so hopefully it will be like that when we drive it tomorrow."

Easy to make mistakes

Verstappen enters the weekend knowing a third consecutive World Championship could be his as early as at the end of Saturday's Sprint race.

Asked what it has taken out of him to secure the feat, the Red Bull driver replied: "It is hard to fully explain. It will be amazing to win it here, whether it is Saturday or Sunday, it doesn't matter but it is nice [to do it] at the first possible opportunity to win it.

"To win three championships in a row is never easy, you need a very good car for that, but what I always try to achieve is being consistent and not have too many mistakes as a driver.

"That is something you are constantly working on - to be as consistent as possible, reliable.

"We are having a great season, the car is in a great window except from in Singapore, but all the other races it was really nice to drive.

"It is still easy to make mistakes when you are driving on the limit, that is what I try to eliminate.

"Three championships, many races a year - I love racing, it is the best thing out there and that is why I also really enjoy it but when you win, you enjoy it even more."

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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