Max Verstappen puts rivals on notice for Japanese GP after nightmare Melbourne DNF

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen looking serious at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen looking serious

Max Verstappen saw his winning run come to a dramatic end in Melbourne, but that certainly has not knocked the Red Bull driver off his stride heading into the Japanese Grand Prix.

On a streak of nine consecutive victories, Verstappen went into the Australian GP looking to notch up a tenth which would have seen him match his own Formula 1 record, though those hopes were over by the second lap thanks to a right rear brake failure, that forcing Verstappen back to the pits to retire his Red Bull RB20.

Max Verstappen ‘ready to fight for the win’ at Suzuka

But after a free weekend to come to terms with that setback, Verstappen now has the chance to respond at the Japanese GP, with question marks swirling over whether Ferrari can take the fight to Red Bull after their dominant Melbourne 1-2, race victor Carlos Sainz having overtaken Verstappen prior to that DNF, while Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez managed only P5.

However, Verstappen is not heading into battle at Suzuka with any question marks in his mind, as he warned Ferrari and all comers that he intends to fight for a third win of the season.

“Suzuka is always a great circuit to go racing at. As a team, we have had a lot of special memories here over the years including winning last year’s Constructors’ Championship as well as winning my second Drivers’ Championship here too,” Verstappen told his personal website ahead of the Japanese GP.

“It has been nice to have had a break with family and friends before the racing starts and always fun to be able to spend some time in Tokyo too. recommends

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“The last race in Melbourne was unfortunate and these things happen, however we achieved nine race wins in a row, which is an impressive feat, so we are looking to come back even stronger for this weekend.

“The team is feeling confident for Suzuka: it is an iconic circuit and is always fun to drive. The track has a lot of high speed corners and high degradation and we need to ensure that we optimise our performance where we can, especially with rain forecasted for this weekend.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the car and [I am] ready to fight for the win this weekend.”

Verstappen is looking to make it a hat-trick of Suzuka wins having triumphed here in 2022 and 2023, the latter one of his standout drives of that third title-winning season.

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