All too easy for Max Verstappen in Brazil: Tyre management and no pushing

Max Verstappen was in complete control as he strolled to victory at the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix Sprint Race


Red Bull driver Max Verstappen believes tyre management was key to him winning the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix Sprint Race at Interlagos

After snatching pole for Sunday’s 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix, Verstappen was narrowly pipped for the top spot in the Sprint shootout by Lando Norris by less than a tenth.

But Verstappen got his revenge in the Sprint, getting a better launch off the line and taking the lead off Norris into Turn 1 before taking victory from the Brit and Sergio Perez.

“I think the initial getaway wasn’t that fantastic,” explained Verstappen in Saturday’s FIA post Sprint press conference. “My release wasn’t very good, but the second bit was very strong.

“And I could get alongside. So that definitely helped, of course, in the beginning of the race. We know 24 laps around here, it’s all about tyre management, just incredibly difficult, a lot of degradation.

“Last year, we were struggling a lot with that already in the sprint race. And that’s why I was a bit careful. Luckily, it worked out, and [throughout] the whole race, the tyres didn’t feel particularly great around here.

“But yeah, with the management we did, I think it worked out, and we, yeah, we won the race.”

Tyre saving from the out-lap

With all but three drivers starting on used softs, tyre management played a key role in deciding the outcome of the Sprint race.

Verstappen may have led every lap of the Sprint, but he remains weary of Norris potentially challenging him for victory after a Saturday which showcased McLaren’s strong pace.

However, with Norris languishing in seventh for Sunday’s race after a poor first run in Friday’s rain-affected Qualifying session, the Brit will need a good opening stint of the race to beat Verstappen.

“The out-lap,” Verstappen said, when asked at which point he had to start managing the tyres, “there’s not one lap that I push flat out. You can’t? It’s impossible. Like I said, it’s all about tyre management.

“At one point of the race, it looked like, you know, Lando was catching a bit, and then I had a better feeling with the car again, and I could look after the tyres a bit better.

“Then I could pull away, and at the end, so, it was closer than I think. Tomorrow, you never know we have pitstops in the race you never know what can happen.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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