Verstappen targeting immediate bounce back

Max Verstappen is “ready to fight” in this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, in order to bounce back from his early retirement at Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit.

The reigning world champion retired in the opening stages of the most recent race following a brake-related failure, leading to a small explosion as he entered the pit-lane to retire.

It meant his nine-race winning streak was ended, with Carlos Sainz having been responsible for ending the Dutchman’s run for a second time.

Interestingly, it was the Japanese GP which followed the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix last season, where Sainz ended Verstappen’s 10-race winning streak.

With that in mind, the 26-year-old knows how to respond in fine fashion at Suzuka.

“Suzuka is always a great circuit to go racing at,” Verstappen said. “As a Team, we have had a lot of special memories here over the years including winning last year’s Constructors’ Championship as well as winning my second Drivers’ Championship here too.

“It has been nice to have had a break with family and friends before the racing starts and always fun to be able to spend some time in Tokyo too.”

Looking to bounce back

Verstappen has been victorious in the past two races in Suzuka, with him having the chance to become the first driver to win three consecutive races in Japan since Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher was victorious in Japan every season from 2000-2002, a feat the Dutchman can match if he bounces back from the Australian GP in the best way possible.

“The last race in Melbourne was unfortunate and these things happen, however we achieved nine race wins in a row, which is an impressive feat, so we are looking to come back even stronger for this weekend,” added the championship leader.

“The Team is feeling confident for Suzuka: it is an iconic circuit and is always fun to drive. The track has a lot of high speed corners and high degradation and we need to ensure that we optimise our performance where we can, especially with rain forecasted for this weekend.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the car and ready to fight for the win this weekend.”


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