Max Verstappen declared that his tyre management was key to beating Lando Norris at the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix after the McLaren driver got quite close to the Dutchman in the early stages.
An electric start saw Norris move up into second place and who, once he repelled Lewis Hamilton, began to chase after the world champion for the lead of the race. It was an ambition that caught Verstappen off-guard and forced him to go defensively for a few laps before he solidified his position.
From there, the man with 17 wins in 2023 settled into another all-too-familiar rhythm of being too fast to be challenged by anyone, but Norris managed to remain in view of his wing mirrors for the duration of the 71-lap race.
“Maybe it looks fully easy from the outside,” Verstappen said to media. “But I think for most of every stint Lando was matching my lap times. It was always like the last five to 10 laps when it seemed like then we had better tyre deg.
“But at the beginning of every stint, I definitely had to focus a lot and that couldn’t afford to make mistakes, and around here with the high deck as well it’s not the easiest to drive.
“It’s not like you can just relax and let the car just roll into the corners without any consequence. You have to be really be on it.”
Brazilian GP backs up Verstappen’s Sprint Race criticisms
Verstappen doesn’t make it any secret that he isn’t a fan of F1 Sprint Races. At the United States GP, he slammed them as merely being forecasts for the Sunday races the following day and claimed that they only take away from the entertainment of those main races.
His opinion proved more than true at the Brazilian GP as in the Sprint Race, Verstappen had Norris quite close but he was doing little more than managing his tyres, and once he was told to push, he opened up a four second gap in a handful of laps.
The Sunday race was exactly the same as he pulled away from Norris either side of pit-stops and then settled into a rhythm of managing his race knowing that the McLaren didn’t have the pace to fight.
When is the next F1 2023 race?
Formula 1 racing will return in Las Vegas for the first time since 1982, when it was held at Caesar’s Palace in the Nevada party resort. In 2023, the race will happen around a 6.2km circuit which features long straights and high-speed corners and will run past iconic parts of the city.
The race weekend will run from November 17-19.