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Max Verstappen

Verstappen 'fired up' in Japan by exchange with Lambiase

Max Verstappen made it three wins in four races this season by taking the chequered flag in Japan.

Verstappen win Japan 2024
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To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen has revealed two key situations spurred him on to victory in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Verstappen enjoyed another cruise around Suzuka, his third in a row at the venerable circuit, taking him to 57 victories overall in his F1 career, and his 20th from the last 22 grands prix.

The three-time F1 champion, however, had conceded after qualifying to a concern about the race pace of his RB20, which ultimately was far from an issue, allowing him to spearhead a Red Bull one-two and open a 13-point gap over team-mate Sergio Perez in the drivers' standings.

Highlighting the first vital moment that aided his cause, Verstappen said: "It was a very good win. It took a few laps to settle in a bit with the car but we did make some good changes to it before going into qualifying, which then helped.

"After the first stint, some tiny adjustments were made to the car, and that helped me then to feel even more comfortable, and whenever I needed to go faster I could, and whenever I needed to look after my tyres, I could.

"So that's always a very nice feeling to have once you're driving. Medium tyres, hard tyres, possibly the hard felt a bit better but on both sides, we were very competitive."

Those pre-qualifying changes made the car "a lot nicer to drive and more under control".

'It turned out to be wrong'

The "tiny adjustments" after the first stint referenced by Verstappen also played a part in the second major aspect of his win, and led to a typical exchange during the grand prix with race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase who at one point mentioned to his driver that 'I don't want to say I told you so'.

Asked to explain the meaning, Verstappen added: "We had, not an argument, but he was like, 'Are you sure you want to do this?

"I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm pretty sure'. It turned out to be wrong, so he was right but in a way, it also fires me up because I'm like, 'Okay, I'm not entirely happy with the balance now'.

"I'll still try to be as consistent as I can be without shouting back at him. You know, we have a great relationship, and it works well like that."

Verstappen crossed the line 12.5 seconds clear of Perez to put behind him what unfolded in the previous race in Australia when a brake issue resulted in his first mechanical retirement for two years.

Dismissing this latest win as a relief, he added: "It's just nice to win, and it's nice, of course, to win here in Japan. It's always an important race for us.

"We have a lot of support here, and it's great to win here in front of Honda, and basically have three cars in the points as well [RB's Yuki Tsunoda was 10th].

"Of course, Melbourne felt like a bit of a hiccup but what we did [with the win in Japan], that's what we want to do, and that's what we aim to do every single weekend."

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