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Max Verstappen

Verstappen fires warning shot: "I always feel unbeatable!"

After convincingly winning Sunday's Miami Grand Prix despite starting ninth, Max Verstappen says his long stint on Hard tyres was key to his eventual victory.

Verstappen Miami
To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen says his long opening stint on Hard compound tyres was critical to his Miami Grand Prix win.

While teammate Sergio Perez started from pole position on Medium tyres, Verstappen opted to begin the race on Hard compound rubber and do a longer first stint.

The Dutchman inherited the lead from Perez when the Mexican stopped on Lap 20 to fit a set of Hard tyres.

But despite running on tyres that were 20 laps older, Verstappen was largely able to maintain the gap to Perez until he finally pitted on Lap 46.

Rejoining the race just one second behind Perez, and on much fresher tyres, Verstappen caught and passed the Mexican one lap later to take a lead he would hold to the flag.

Verstappen's win largely hinged on his ability to manage his tyres and continue to lap quickly, and said he was pleased at how his long stint had gone.

"It was better than expected, I guess," Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.

"It was just really trying to understand a bit how they would last in the beginning or the middle of that stint, I was not sure.

"That's why probably I was a bit slower than I could have been, but that also that made me go faster, so that's where I could extend my gap again.

"And that, of course, made my race, because once I made the pit stop, I was only one and a half seconds behind [Perez], and with a fresher compound, of course you can pass."

Verstappen "always been good" at tyre management

During his time in F1, Perez has gained a reputation for being particularly strong at managing his tyres, with some dubbing him the "Tyre Whisperer".

However, Verstappen questioned the legitimacy of that notion, and said he felt he himself had always been good at managing the life of his tyres over a stint.

"People say that, but I never really understood why," said Verstappen.

"I think I've always been very good on tyres, but it's very small margins.

"But this has already been a factor in the last few years, where if you look after your tyres well, some races it works out a bit better than others.

Having come through to win convincingly from ninth on the grid and extend his lead in the Drivers' Championship, Verstappen had some ominous words for any potential rivals looking for a chink in the Dutchman's armour.

"I always feel unbeatable," Verstappen said.

"But sometimes other people also have a really good day, and they can be close to you or match you and be ahead.

"What is important is to try and be close to 100% perfect every single time. [Saturday] wasn't perfect, so overall, this weekend wasn't perfect.

"But it's a long season, and I try to always be as close as possible to perfect."

Also interesting:

Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Miami Grand Prix.

F1 2023 Miami Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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