Verstappen encouraged by Red Bull pace


Max Verstappen was in good spirits after his runner-up result at the Japanese Grand Prix despite arguably being denied a shot at the win by backmarker traffic.

Verstappen closed right up on Hamilton in the final laps at Suzuka and asked Red Bull if he had the go-ahead to give it his all.

He was told yes and looked set to launch an attack as Hamilton came up behind traffic in the form of Fernando Alonso.

While while the Spaniard moved over for Hamilton, he then returned to the racing line right in front of Verstappen.

The gap went from 0.2 to 0.7s and the battle was over.

Nevertheless, Verstappen was delighted with his P2 on the day and hailed Red Bull’s ever-improving RB13.

“It was a great day again,” he said.

“Suzuka is great to me, I really love this track.

“TThe pace today was very promising.

“The first stint, on the supersoft, I was struggling with the left-front, but as soon as we switched to the soft tyre is was very competitive.

“I was always with Lewis especially in the last few laps.

“We had great pace it’s just really hard to pass.

“The last two, three laps I gave it my all to try close the gap.”

The 20-year-old hailed Red Bull’s improvements, adding: “The car is improving race by race so I’m really happy with that.”