Verstappen admits F1 Chinese GP Sprint went “much better than I thought it ever would” after taking a crushing victory

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Max Verstappen took an extremely dominant win in the F1 Sprint at the Chinese Grand Prix from his P4 starting spot.

The Dutchman gained a spot on the opening lap as Lando Norris got overly ambitious at turn 1 trying to hang it around the outside of Lewis Hamilton who had made a better start.

In the early laps, he came under fierce pressure from Carlos Sainz as the Spaniard had started on a new set of medium tyres. However, the Dutchman fended off the Spanish driver into turn 15.

After taking care of his tyres in the opening laps, Verstappen steadily started to pick his pace up to close in on Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

On lap 7, he used DRS to breeze on by to take P2 from the Spanish driver down the back straight. After a lock-up by Hamilton into turn 15 on lap 8, Verstappen took P1 a lap later as he dived down the inside of his fierce rival heading into the same corner.

He drove away from that point and romped to a 13s victory when the chequered flag was waved.

Speaking post-sprint, the three-time World Champion admitted the race went even better than he anticipated after starting 4th.

“I think much better than I thought it ever would be in the race.

“Of course I wanted to win, but I didn’t think it was going to be like that.”

Once his battery issues got sorted and Sainz was no longer attacking him, Verstappen settled into a solid pace and kept a gap of around 1.5s to Alonso and about 3s to Hamilton.

Then from lap 6 onwards, the 26-year-old was by far the fastest driver on the track as he overtook his fellow World Champions following that excellent work at managing his tyres in the opening laps.

“It just seemed like after 5 or 6 laps that everyone went through their tyres a little bit and that’s when we really started to take off basically.

“Of course we also had deg but just a little bit less than the others.”