He was “super angry” and couldn’t sleep, but Max Verstappen sealed one of the most dominant victories of his career at the Mexican GP.
Verstappen’s performance was described as “incredible” by Red Bull boss Christian Horner, and the Dutchman has admitted he used his frustration from qualifying – he missed out on pole to Daniel Ricciardo by two hundredths of a second – to spur him on in the race.
Race report: Verstappen wins Mexican GP
Hamilton savours title ‘dream’
“I was super angry,” Verstappen told Sky F1 after his win. “I only slept for three hours.”
But Verstappen certainly controlled his emotions on Sunday, fighting off Lewis Hamilton at the start before displaying immense maturity and race guile to take the chequered flag, 17 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
He continued: “Apart from those 75 seconds in Q3, the whole weekend has been really good.
“We were really quick, then today I was just determined to have a good start.”
Verstappen added that the run-down to Turn One was “crucial” as he stormed past his team-mate before making the corner ahead of Hamilton, and from then on he was composed and confident in the cockpit.
The 21-year-old even frequently instructed his Red Bull team to turn his engine down after watching Ricciardo retire from the race with another mechanical failure.
“We were that far in the lead,” a delighted Verstappen reflected.
Sky F1’s Martin Brundle, meanwhile, hailed Verstappen’s improvement through the season.
“He’s got an old head on young shoulders and we’ve said that about champions in the past,” said Brundle.
“He’s just coming together as a racing driver in every respect. He’s been utterly brilliant since winning in Austria.”
But while Red Bull’s pace in Mexico was welcome, Verstappen also knows it’s a rarity. Red Bull have only ever sealed pole at the high-downforce Monaco and Mexico tracks in the power-friendly hybrid era.
Next season, however, Verstappen is optimistic the team will have a better chance of success with Honda engines as they prepare to split from Renault.
“I hope there’s going to be a lot more [like this] next year,” he stated.
“It looks very positive. The pace is definitely going to be better than we have now in terms of power.”
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