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Max Verstappen

Verstappen predicts potential Suzuka difficulty despite strong start

It was a return to form for Max Verstappen on Friday for the Japanese Grand Prix, comfortably topping both sessions.

Verstappen Horner Japan
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen has predicted that tyre wear could make the Japanese Grand Prix "difficult" despite him dominating Friday practice.

It was an imperious return to form for the World Champion at Suzuka as he comfortably topped both 60 minute practice sessions.

The Red Bull driver was nearly half-a-second clear of Carlos Sainz in the opening session, and was just the three-tenths up on the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in second practice - with the team widely expected to prove Singapore was just a blip.

Suzuka is renowned as a track that is hard on tyres with an abrasive track surface coupled with high lateral forces through Sector 1 and heavy traction zones - with Verstappen feeling this would prove important in the race.

Verstappen's difficulty

"It felt very good and from the first lap, the car was fun to drive," Verstappen explained.

"From the first lap, the car was fun to drive and it looks like we had a strong day on the short and long runs.

"The tyre wear is high on this track, so it will be difficult during the race, but so far, it is a good start to the weekend.

"Behind me, everything is close together with the Ferraris and McLarens close behind, but ultimately, we have to focus on ourselves.

"We have to optimise our performance, and if we succeed, we can go for pole [and the win]."

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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