Verstappen puts out any fire at the Japanese GP | Formula 1 | Sports


After two weeks of uncertainty and some doubts, Max Verstappen and Red Bull put things back in place in Japan, where the Dutchman won again, his third victory out of four possible, in a grand prix that the buffalo team Rojo controlled from Saturday, placing his two cars at the front of the grid with a view to Sunday. In Australia, the reigning champion was forced to retire as a result of his rear brakes overheating, a failure that led to his first retirement in a year. Having analyzed the trigger from its roots, the energy team modified certain operational protocols to prevent a disaster like the one in Melbourne from being repeated. The double of Verstappen and Sergio Pérez in Japan confirms these new protocols that make the RB20, the fastest prototype of all, a little more tough. In a race that ‘Mad Max’ dominated from the first lap, his neighbor in the workshop once again made merit so that Red Bull plans to keep him in the car next year. Pérez has never had the option of discussing the throne with his partner, although we should not detract from the Mexican, who must play one of the most complicated roles there is.

In the three exercises he has been wearing in the uniform of the Milton Keynes structure (Great Britain), the runner from Jalisco has gone from less to more. In 2021 he finished the World Cup fourth. In 2022 he won a place (third) to become runner-up last year. If we listen to any of his bosses, one gets the feeling that not even that is enough for Pérez to sleep peacefully, without having the feeling that his steering wheel is going up for auction. In Suzuka, ‘Checo’ once again offered his most solid version. A profile that, when he emerges, allows him to extract almost all the potential of the car he drives, a circumstance that sets him apart from everyone except Verstappen, who gained almost 13 seconds on him when crossing the finish line. This is Red Bull’s third double in the four stops on the calendar that have been completed to date, the statistic that best reflects his superiority. This result leads the driver from Guadalajara to overtake Charles Leclerc (fourth) in the general points table, and move into second place. The podium was completed by Carlos Sainz, who continues to assert himself in a big way. As he has demonstrated throughout his entire career, both in the journey that followed until F1 and later, moving in it, the man from Madrid grows like no one else in the face of obstacles.

Since Ferrari informed him that Lewis Hamilton would take his place in 2025, Sainz has become one of the most desirable products on the market on his own merits. He has been on the podium in three of the four grand prix contests, with the resounding victory of Australia, still recovering from the emergency appendicitis operation that led him to miss the event in Jeddah, as the perfect ending to a story of improvement that will remain. forever in the history of the championship. In Japan, the son of the two-time world rally champion (1990 and 1992) once again showed that solidity that characterizes him so much, to put together a very consistent weekend. Fernando Alonso, for his part, finished sixth, a position probably above the possibilities of the AMR24 driven by the Asturian.

Verstappen’s message to his team

Verstappen’s attitude has changed a lot since the boy from Hasselt made his debut in the competition (2015). Normal, if we take into account that he debuted when he was practically a teenager (he was 17 years old), and that since then he has accumulated three titles and has broken countless records. In another era, the abandonment 15 days ago would have provoked a furious reaction in him, no matter how much margin of advantage he has over his rivals. This time, simply a comment and a suggestion for his troops, who already consider the deviation corrected. It appears that the modification of the RB20’s floor in Australia, between the first test on Friday and the second, as a result of a gravel excursion, caused the left rear brake calipers to lock, with a consequent increase in the temperature in the record, which ended up catching fire and causing the drum to explode. “There are times when work is done very quickly, because you don’t want to break curfew or for any other reason. What we have to do is have someone who reviews these types of protocols,” Verstappen simply said.

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