Max Verstappen outlines severity of braking struggles that almost cost him United States GP victory

Throughout the 2023 US GP Max Verstappen was complaining about the brakes in his Red Bull

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has revealed the cause behind the brake issues, which came close to costing him victory at the 2023 United States Grand Prix in Austin.

Verstappen had been nursing a brake problem since Lap 1 and was losing time during the race’s closing stages, nearly handing Lewis Hamilton his first win since the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP.

But the chequered flag came just in time for Verstappen, who won his 50th Formula 1 race, becoming only the fifth driver to achieve a half-century of race victories. 

“I just couldn’t feel the brakes. I very easily locked the fronts, tried to adjust it, and locked the rears,” explained Verstappen to the press after the race. “It was something very weird.

“Because normally I never really have issues with braking, so this is something we need to understand because when you’re locking the front or the rears, you are also killing your tyres.

“Nevertheless, we still won the race, so that’s the most important [thing]. The talking under braking when you’re struggling under braking, and you don’t feel that confident. I politely asked not to be spoken to.”

Enjoyed dual with Hamilton despite brake issues

After a year of dominance, Verstappen had his work cut out at the Circuit of the Americas after starting Sunday’srace from sixth after losing pole because of a breach of track limits.

In Sunday’s GP and Saturday’s Sprint, Hamilton put Verstappen under pressure for most of the race by Lando Norris, who briefly led before the reigning world champion swept past on Lap 28.

“I think, in general, today the pace was a lot closer than maybe some other races,” reflected Verstappen. “So naturally, that does make it more exciting, and you need to be really on top of things. 

“But then, at the same time, I was not entirely happy because I was struggling with the brakes, and your confidence is not that fantastic.

“Once I was in the lead, I think the gap was okay, but with a few laps to go, there were some backmarkers, and my tyres were not feeling that great. But I think the gap was just big enough.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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