Verstappen credits Baku defeat for current supremacy


Max Verstappen says valuable lessons learned during last April's Azerbaijan Grand Prix have since helped him make the most of Red Bull's RB19 and build his current supremacy in F1.

Last weekend in Zandvoort, Verstappen enjoyed the spoils of winning his own race, achieving in the process his ninth consecutive win and his eleventh victory of 2023.

The Dutchman's remarkable run of success began in Miami in early May, just one race after he had finished second to Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in Baku, having traded wins with the Mexican in the first four races of the season.

According to Verstappen, his defeat in Azerbaijan was a turning point of sorts in his campaign.

"I think I learned a lot from the race in Baku, how to do some [different] things with the car, how to set it up," he explained last weekend in Zandvoort.

"Of course, I didn't win that race in Baku, but I actually really tried a lot of stuff and different tools in the car, and that's why in the race it was a little bit inconsistent.

"But at one point I got into a good rhythm with what I found.

"I damaged my tyres a bit too much, but I was like, 'okay, that's quite interesting for the next races'. And I basically implemented that and it has helped me on every track."

From his early years in F1, when as the consummate but inexperienced racer he often went all-in on Sundays which led to a few costly mistakes, Verstappen has developed into a nearly flawless contender.

But the opportunity since 2021 to fight for the world title has added an extra layer of intelligence and discernment to his driving that has helped him better measure risk versus reward.

"It was a lot about risk management," he said.

"I mean, when I compare it to like a few years ago where I'm not fighting for the championship, I'm driving completely different for sure.

"But that's fine. I mean, even while driving like this, I know that I have a car which is capable of a lot.

"That probably helps to be a little bit more in control, I guess."

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