Post-Singapore reaction impresses Verstappen: 'Proves he is champion'

Post-Singapore reaction impresses Verstappen: 'Proves he is champion'

19-09-2023 07:58

For Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen, the Singapore Grand Prix weekend has been one to quickly forget. The Suzuka circuit in Japan should suit the RB19 better and so Pedro de la Rosa expects Verstappen and Sergio Perez to "just" compete for wins again this weekend. Moreover, the former Formula 1 driver let it be known that he was impressed by Verstappen's reaction after his disappointing P5 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

De la Rosa sees gap narrowing

"But the question is, will there be more opportunities for the other teams?" asks De la Rosa in the F1 Nation podcast, before answering his own question himself. "I think so. You can't dominate a championship the way they [Red Bull] did for so long. I think other teams have closed the gap."

The Aston Martin ambassador saw his own team experience a poor weekend with Lance Stroll crashing in qualifying and Fernando Alonso finishing 15th, his worst result of 2023. Still, there is reason for optimism, as Ferrari has shown that teams other than Red Bull can win in Formula 1.

"They [Red Bull] definitely still have the strongest package, but there will be other tracks again, and some of them will not suit their car as well as maybe other tracks will. We just see that there are a bit more opportunities for all of us," sounds hopeful from De la Rosa's mouth.

So what exactly was it down to this weekend at Red Bull? "No idea," the technically well-versed Spaniard has to be guilty of answering. "In the end, it's not much different from Monaco, you know, I mean, it's a street circuit, really maximum downforce. The tarmac was even a bit better than what all the teams expected because of the resurfacing. So I don't really know." In Monaco earlier this year, Verstappen did win convincingly with a 27-second lead.

Next destination: Japan

The next Grand Prix on the calendar is Japan, where Verstappen won and became world champion last year. De la Rosa thinks the RB19 will fly again this weekend. "What I do know is that they will be very strong in Suzuka, because if you look at both Red Bull's data: in the last corner, the corner with the highest speed on the circuit, they were one of the fastest."

The 105-time Grand Prix competitor continued: "So even during the difficult laps Max drove in qualifying, the problems he encountered, he was one of the fastest at turns 18 and 19. That's obviously the part that's very similar to Suzuka. I think it's clear they will be very strong there, they are clearly the team to beat." Still:"I think there will be more other opportunities for the teams [later this season]."

Verstappen accepts end of series

After the Singapore race, Verstappen reacted sportingly to the fact that he did not manage to take an 11th win in a row in the king class of motorsport. The Dutchman came across as very mature and did not seem to be bothered by it for a moment. That attitude impressed De la Rosa.

"You feel he is at peace with himself. This interview left me with a very good feeling, because it proves that he is a champion. He is relaxed about it and it is very important to understand that you cannot dominate every race. You can't win all the races in a year and your team can't dominate the whole championship either. You can tell he is already looking forward to Suzuka again and that he is not despondent about what happened here."