Penalised Verstappen still confident for Spa win

"I never really enjoy these kinds of weekends"


29 July 2023 - 08:00
Penalised Verstappen still confident for

Max Verstappen and Red Bull are confident the Dutch driver can still easily win Sunday’s Belgian GP.

That is despite the fact that adding a fifth gearbox to the championship leader’s allocation this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps has dropped him to P6 on the grid.

His advantage in qualifying, however, was an astonishing eight tenths.

"I mean last year we started 14th and won and I think this year, the car is better. So I’m still targeting to win the race for sure," Verstappen said on Friday.

He agrees that Spa, one of the strongest circuits for the dominant 2023 car, is "the best place" to take the gearbox penalty.

"I think Sunday looks more and more dry. So that’s why we went for it," the 25-year-old added.

In changeable conditions during qualifying, however, Verstappen almost dropped out in Q2 - prompting a heated exchange with his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.

Verstappen later apologised for his radio "ranting".

"That’s how Max is when he’s under pressure," Dr Helmut Marko told Sky Deutschland. "He always wants the maximum possible, and that’s what makes him so competitive."

On the dispute with Lambiase, Marko added: "They’re like an old married couple so there’s a conflict sometimes.

"But both of them calmed down again and all is well. If the pressure is there, then Max delivers. He has an incredible overview in situations like that.

"He won’t take any risks (in the race), but we hope he will get to the front relatively quickly," the top Red Bull official added.

Overall, however, Verstappen is not happy with the sort of uncertainty and chaos that he thinks is deliberately created by F1 due to the sprint weekend format.

"I never really enjoy these kinds of weekends," said the Dutchman. "Once you make a mistake, you’re stuck with it for the rest of the weekend. And I don’t think it should be like that.

"I guess they implemented that so there’s a bit more chaos and people not getting it right. But with how advanced everything is in this sport, it shouldn’t be like that."

Red Bull


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