At the press conference prior to the 2022 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, the Monegasque driver of the Maranello team warned that the Suzuka weekend could be similar to what was recently experienced after the summer break at the Belgian GP.
At Spa-Francorchamps, Max Verstappen and Red Bull, despite a penalty, dominated from start to finish, giving their rivals no chance, with Ferrari much further away than expected.
However, the Dutch driver was skeptical of Charles Leclerc’s words and assured that there is no reason to think that the Japanese GP will be a Belgian GP 2.0, in fact, Verstappen put Ferrari as the favorite for Saturday and based his confidence for this event on race pace.
Speaking during the official Formula 1 press conference this Thursday morning at Suzuka, the Red Bull driver explains why he believes the battle between the Austrians and the Italians will be much closer this weekend compared to with Spa.
“On this track you run with a bit more downforce than at Spa, that’s the main difference, at least in terms of what you need from the car.
“Really, I don’t expect the same weekend, I think we had a very good weekend at Spa, I think we nailed the setup there, while other teams definitely didn’t do very well, that’s why I don’t think this weekend it’s going to be like Spa,” he added.
The current world leader, who will have his second match ball in Japan after wasting the first in Singapore, gave the Italian Grand Prix weekend as an example: “We already saw it in Monza, on paper you might think that the track should have benefited our car a lot, but Ferrari was very quick there.
“I still think that Ferrari is very difficult to beat on a qualifying lap, so I hope we’ll be a little bit closer in long runs, but it will be very even , obviously much more than in Spa,” he concluded.
With five races remaining to close the curtain on the 2022 Formula 1 season and with just 138 points at stake, including a sprint-format weekend in Brazil, Verstappen has arrived in Japan with a 104-point lead over Charles Leclerc. These are the Dutch driver’s accounts to seal his second F1 title at Suzuka.
As for his chances of winning the title, the Red Bull man did not want to get too wet: ” I don’t care, to be honest. I just do what I have to do during the weekend and if everything happens, then it’s possible that it will be here, of course, but I don’t look at it much .”
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