Max Verstappen praised the progress his team made improving his starts after scoring his second consecutive win from off the front row of the grid in Mexico.Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday but took the lead by the first corner. In the standing restart after the race was red-flagged Verstappen held on to his first place without difficulty.
His team mate Sergio Perez also made a rapid getaway from the grid when the grand prix began, going from fifth place to third and then attempting to take the lead at turn one. That resulted in a race-ending crash in front of his home fans, but as Red Bull team principal Christian Horner pointed out “he had probably his best start of the season” before then.
Horner acknowledged the RB19’s standing starts have been among its few weaknesses. “Starts haven’t been probably our strongest asset this year, but certainly the three starts we had today were all rocketships,” he said Horner. “So on this day in history, with the conditions and the Tarmac and the altitude and everything, the guys got it just right.”
After taking his record-breaking 16th grand prix win of the season, Verstappen spoke about the significance of his strong start which almost immediately turned Red Bull’s race strategy into managing the pace from the front rather than pressuring Ferrari for the lead.
“I think that start definitely made it a bit easier for me in the first stint,” said Verstappen.
Getting away well was especially important in Mexico because of the long run to turn one, and especially challenging because of the low grip levels at the circuit.
Verstappen said a lot of preparation had gone into improving their starts. “It’s just doing our procedures a bit better: Understanding the tyre grip, clutch settings, I think we just have been probably a bit more sharp on that,” Verstappen explained after Sunday’s race.
“At the beginning of the year, we had a bit of an issue but then we fixed the issue but then I think we still didn’t do the right thing with tyre temperature, clutch settings. It’s all very sensitive.
“If you’re just next to it, you might have too much wheelspin or not enough engagement. It’s very difficult to get right and I think today especially it was very good.”
After winning the United States Grand Prix’s sprint race, Verstappen praised Red Bull’s control engineer Michael Manning for improving his starts. The next day he won the grand prix from sixth on the grid.
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