- The defending world champion struggled to master the street circuit in Red Bull
- But the Dutchman claimed that Suzuka had felt ‘very nice’ on the simulator
- Verstappen highlighted the strength of the upgrades McLaren have made
Max Verstappen has insisted last week’s lowly finish in Singapore was just a blip as the reigning world champion set out to ensure normal service is resumed in Japan.
The Dutchman, 25, saw his 10-race winning run come to an end last weekend as his Red Bull struggled to master the razor-tight street circuit in Marina Bay.
Carlos Sainz went onto secure only his second Formula One victory ahead of Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc, but with long, fast corners ahead of him in Suzuka, Verstappen is confident he can get back to winning ways at the Japanese Grand Prix.
‘I mean, Singapore is so different to what we will experience here in terms of the way you set up the car, so I’m also not worried that a weekend like that will upset our weekend here,’ he said on Thursday.
‘It was not our strongest weekend of course, but it’s important that now we just analyse everything and step by step, we’ll get there. But there’s also no real rush.
Max Verstappen is keen to look ahead to race weekend after faltering in Singapore last week
The two-time world champion ended his ten-race winning streak with a lowly fifth-place finish
Second-placed Lando Norris was named as a rival to watch by after McLaren’s new upgrades
‘(Suzuka) felt very nice on the simulator,’ he added, ‘and normally that’s a good indication when everything comes quite easy, so I hope of course that it’s going to be exactly the same in real life.’
Hamilton and George Russell showed promising signs that Mercedes may finally have rediscovered their pace at the end of the Singapore Grand Prix, but Verstappen singled out the duo’s fellow Briton, Lando Norris, as well as Australian rookie, Oscar Piastri, as his biggest threats in Japan this weekend, with the pair boasting impressive upgrades heading into Round 17.
‘Honestly, what they have done this year is quite impressive, from where they started to where they are now,’ he added.
‘So I, for sure, expect them to be strong. But of course, I hope to be ahead!’