Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has said he is continuing to strive for perfection, admitting to feeling ‘unbeatable’ at most Grands Prix.
Verstappen came home a comfortable winner at the Miami Grand Prix, despite starting the race from ninth place on the grid.
The Dutch driver started on the Hard compound tyre and bided his time in the early stages, before starting to pick his way through the pack to climb up to second place and set off in pursuit of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
With the Mexican driver running the opposite strategy, having started on the Medium tyre, the race came down to how the drivers could keep their tyres alive and the pace they could unlock on the Hards.
Verstappen ran the Hards until Lap 45, with his pace remaining impressive throughout, coming out from his pitstop just 1.5 seconds behind Perez. On a much fresher tyre, and a softer compound, Verstappen quickly hunted down his teammate to overtake and come home five seconds clear to open up a 14-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
Max Verstappen: I always try to be close to perfection
Having beaten Perez to claim his third win of 2023 and responding to Perez’s increasing pressure in the Drivers’ Championship, Verstappen was asked whether his Miami win is making him feel far more comfortable in the title chase.
“I always feel unbeatable but, sometimes, other people also have a really good day and they can be close to you or match you and be ahead,” he told Sky F1.
“But I think what is important is you try and be close to 100% perfect every single time. Yesterday wasn’t perfect so, overall, this weekend wasn’t perfect.
“But it’s a long season, and I try to always be as close as possible to perfection.”
With the head-to-head against Perez coming down to a tyre longevity battle, an area Perez is known for being strong, Verstappen admitted to being surprised by being seen as harder on his tyres than his teammate.
“I mean, people say that but I never really understood why,” he said.
“I think I’ve always been very good on tyres, but it’s very small margins, you know? But I think this has already been effective the last few years where you look after your tyres well and, in some races, that works out a bit better than others.”
Reflecting on how his tyre strategy had played out, Verstappen said it had been a case of trying to gauge the tyre life through each stint, having ran to Lap 45 while trying to maintain and extend his gap to the pursuing Perez.
“It was better than expected, I guess,” he said.
“It was just really trying to understand a bit how they would last at the beginning. In the middle of that [first] stint, I was not sure, that’s why probably I was a bit slower than I could have been. But that also made me go fast at the end.
“So that’s why where I could extend my gap again. That of course, made my race because once I made the pit stop, I was only one and a half seconds behind and then, with a fresher compound, of course you can pass.”