Verstappen admits he could do “whatever he wanted” on his way to a comfortable F1 Chinese GP win

Photo Credits: Red Bull Content Pool
Spread the love

Max Verstappen has won again in Formula 1, this time at the 2024 Chinese GP, after an utterly dominant performance in which it never really looked in doubt that reigning three-time world champion would win the race.

Despite many interruptions due to the safety car, the Dutchman controlled the race from the front, and admitted after the race his car was so good and so responsive to his driving that he could do “whatever he wanted” with it:

“I felt amazing. I mean all weekend I think we were incredibly quick and it’s just enjoyable to drive on every single [tyre] compound.

“[With] the restarts, I think we survived that well and the car was basically on rails and I could do whatever I wanted to with it.

“And those kind of weekends are of course amazing to feel and of course then to achieve basically what we did this weekend is fantastic.”

With the new Sprint format, parc fermé is open between the Sprint race and the main qualifying session, and Verstappen believes the changes made to his Red Bull car ahead of the fight for pole position for the main grand prix only increased what was already a comfortable margin to the rest of the field:

“Of course with a sprint weekend it’s always a bit more tricky, and I think the car was in general already in a good window, but I think we definitely made it even better before going into the second qualifying,” he said to Sky Sports. “And that then made my life a little bit easier today as well, just a little bit nicer balance, and you can look after your tyres a bit more on the track, where it’s normally quite heavy degradation as well.

“When you have all these things combined then you gain lap time.”

And whilst he was comfortably at the head of the field, his team-mate Sergio Perez couldn’t find a way through a rapid Lando Norris – and the reigning world champion points out that’s proof that they still have to perform at a very high level in order to exert such dominance over their rivals successfully:

“It’s not that there is no competition,” he explained. “I still need to drive to the best that I can, because the other car is in P3, we got beaten by one McLaren today as a team, so they are close and it’s about details every single time.

“If we don’t do our job correctly we are not winning, and that’s why it might look sometimes a bit easy from the outside, but we are still working flat out to try and make it a success every single time.”

Despite some late radio chatter about a possible puncture from running over debris, Verstappen had such a margin and such confidence around the Shanghai Internation Circuit he even did a “power slide” coming out of the hairpin on the final lap, as he told his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to “look at the onboard” as he drifted his way through the penultimate corner of the race in celebration for another win.

He now leads the championship by 25 points over his team-mate Perez, and 34 points over the nearest non-Red Bull of Charles Leclerc after just five rounds of the 24-race season.