Max Verstappen reveals the secret behind dominant Japanese Grand Prix victory

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen smiles on the podium at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has held a near-monopoly on the top step of the podium since F1's switch to ground effect regulations.

Max Verstappen has revealed changes to his Red Bull RB20 before qualifying were key to his Japanese Grand Prix victory, with the car “a lot nicer to drive” as a result.

Verstappen claimed his third victory in four races of F1 2024 at Suzuka, with team-mate Sergio Perez finishing second to secure Red Bull’s latest one-two finish.

Speaking in the post-race press conference, the reigning World Champion revealed changes made to the RB20 ahead of Saturday’s qualifying made the car easier to drive in the race.

He said: “I think it was very, very good win.

“It took a few laps to settle in a bit with the car, but I think we did make some good changes to the car before going into qualifying, which then helped today.

“So basically, after the first stint, some tiny adjustments were made to the car and that helped me then to feel even more comfortable.

“Whenever I needed to go faster, I could. Whenever I needed to look after my tyres, I could. That’s always a very nice feeling to have once you’re driving.

“Medium tyres, hard tyres – possibly the hard tyres felt a bit better – but overall on both sides I think they were very good.”

Pressed on the nature of the changes, Verstappen added: “I was not happy up until qualifying, but we did make some changes.

“I cannot go into detail what we did, but it did help today and it made it a lot nicer to drive and a bit more under control.

“You always look at things that you can do better, but I think overall the biggest changes that we did change the car around and that just gave me more grip.”

Victory in Japan saw Verstappen bounce back from the disappointment of Australia, where he suffered his first retirement in two years after a rear brake issue.

He said: “It’s not a relief, it’s just nice to win and it’s nice of course to win here in Japan.

!It’s always an important race for us.

“We have a lot of support here and it’s great to win here in front of Honda and have three cars in the points as well.

“Melbourne felt like a bit of a hiccup, but what we did today, that’s what we want to do and that’s what we aim to do every single weekend.”

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