Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2024

Red Bull’s long-run pace is a “question mark” for Japanese GP – Verstappen

Formula 1

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Max Verstappen said he is unsure how competitive his Red Bull will be over a race distance in the Japanese Grand Prix after taking pole position for the race.

He scored a comfortable victory in last year’s race, almost 20 seconds ahead of nearest rival Lando Norris. However the race is expected to run in cooler conditions this year following its move to an earlier time slot and teams had less running than usual in practice after rain fell on Friday.

After extending his unbeaten run in qualifying so far this year Verstappen said he “I haven’t been happy with my long runs” so far this weekend. “The pace wasn’t what I would have liked.

“So it’s a bit of a question mark going into tomorrow because looking at the long runs, especially Ferrari, they look very comfortable. Maybe they were not so quick over one lap today, but they were definitely fast in the long run. So we’ll have to wait and see how that will evolve tomorrow in the race.”

Verstappen narrowly beat Sergio Perez to pole position after making a slight mistake on his final lap, which allowed his team mate to come within six-hundredths of a second of beating him to pole position. “I started to lose time from turn 13 [Spoon curve] onwards,” he explained.

“It’s very sensitive around here with the tyres. As soon as you push maybe a bit too hard in sector one, you run out of tyres at the end, and that’s what happened to me in my final lap. So that’s why I didn’t really improve a lot.

“Also, my last chicane, because the front tyres were giving up, I didn’t hit the kerb how it should have been. That wasn’t ideal, but it was still good enough. Of course, I always want it to be perfect, but that’s not possible. Luckily, it was still good enough today.”

However he still relished his final flying laps around one of his favourite circuits. “Around here in Suzuka it’s always very nice when the fuel comes out, the balance is more or less there and then you can push flat out. It’s always very, very nice.

“Of course with the cars improving every single year, it makes it even better, especially the high speed. It feels really, really cool.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Red Bull’s long-run pace is a “question mark” for Japanese GP – Verstappen”

  1. We can only hope, but it seems like a bit of contrived jeopardy when we already know the results.

    1. The RBR’s long run pace has been great at every single track (maybe bar Singapore). So, this is nothing more than the weekly “But maybe the RBR has a hidden weakness! Isn’t that exciting?!”

      ps – strange that Singapore was a bogey track for both Mercedes and RBR in their most boringly dominant of seasons.

      1. True, it’s weird, singapore is a long and twisty track, merc had a really good engine and red bull now too, perhaps that has to do with it.

  2. I think the question mark is whether it wil be blistering or blazing.

  3. We’ll see, I suppose. For now, it sounds like a sequel to Wolff’s classic “Ferrari will be strong on Sunday”.

  4. I’ve zero doubts about their (or Max’s anyway) outright pace for the race, so realistically, another race to lose for him rather than anything else.

    1. As expected. (Probably, or probably not…)

  5. So what he said, was the tires were so bad they wouldnt last a lap. So he had to pick where he wanted the tires to give up.

    Please give up on Pirelli and let’s get some real tires.

    And dont tell me these are designed this way on purpose, I just think Pirelli cant make a good tire. I had pirelli’s on my race car and they were junk too.

    1. No not really he said the tyres were bad only that he has doubts on how long they last but he would still fast on them.

  6. And don’t tell me these are designed this way on purpose

    But you already know that this is indeed largely the case? Your assertions seem curious as a racing driver yourself. There were other compounds which may well last the lap, but they are slower, so the teams chose the soft. They are not going to make an essentially indestructible tyre, and even if they did it would obviously be the hardest of the compounds, and each other compound would still be progressively less durable.

    I am not actually arguing the case that Pirelli are a great supplier, nor that there haven’t been issues with them over the years, but I don’t understand how this is one of them.

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