Max Verstappen explains late Chinese GP concerns after worried radio call

Thomas Maher
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen overcame a late-race debris concern to win the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen got on the radio in the closing laps of the Chinese Grand Prix, asking his team to pay close attention to his tyres.

The Dutch driver came home a dominant winner in Shanghai, adding the Grand Prix win to his Saturday Sprint race victory, but had a late-race worry due to debris on the track.

Max Verstappen explains worried radio call

Leading comfortably ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris, Verstappen was heard on team radio in the final laps of the race asking his team to check his tyres as he felt he’d driven over debris.

There had been a few incidents with car damage during the race, with Lance Stroll causing a big incident at the hairpin when he ran into the back of Daniel Ricciardo who, in turn, struck Oscar Piastri.

In the final laps, Zhou Guanyu also lost his front wind endplate on the back straight as he swooped to overtake Kevin Magnussen’s Haas – possibly the debris that Verstappen hit.

Verstappen was assured over team radio that “everything looked OK”, as the Dutch driver explained his concerns immediately after the chequered flag.

“You hear always noises a little bit,” he said.

“Of course, I’ve had it in the past that I’ve retired quite close to the end and then there was a bit of debris, I think, from a car so I passed it [at] 300[kph] and, when the tyres are getting cold and old, it’s very easy to puncture them and I just wanted to double-check.”

Asked to explain his dramatic moments during the Grand Prix, Verstappen’s list was short.

“I locked up in the second restart into [Turn] 6, a little bit. So that was not ideal,” he said.

“Then I threw a tear-off away which I think I could hear on the intake. It was flapping around and hitting my helmet. So I don’t know where it ended up.

“With two laps to go, I think I drove over a little bit of debris before Turn 14. So then a little bit scary, because it’s easy to have a puncture at high speed when you drive over carbon.”

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Having been untouchable up front all race, having a 20+ second lead wiped out by a mid-race Safety Car, Verstappen said he couldn’t have asked for more from his Red Bull RB20 in Shanghai.

“Yeah, it felt amazing all weekend, I think we were incredibly quick,” he said.

“Yeah, it’s just enjoyable to drive every single compound as well.

“The restarts, I think we all survived that well and we had a car [that] was basically on rails and yeah, I could do whatever I wanted to do with it.

“Those kind of weekends are, of course, amazing to to feel and then to achieve basically what we did this weekend is fantastic.”

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