Verstappen compares season start to 2022
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 12th April, 2023 - 10:41pm
Max Verstappen has contrasted his strong start to the Formula 1 season with his opening to the 2022 campaign.
The Dutchman holds a 15-point advantage over Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in the drivers’ championship after three races.
He’s won two of those and finished second to Perez in Saudi Arabia in what has been a near-perfect start for the team.
Red Bull sits 58 points clear of Aston Martin in the constructors’ championship and 97 ahead of Ferrari which headed that competition at this point in 2022.
Back then, Verstappen found himself playing catch up to Charles Leclerc, who won two of the opening three races and finished second in Saudi Arabia.
Verstappen reflects on 2022
“I think last year, our car was very heavily overweight at this stage of the seasons, so that didn’t help,” Verstappen recounted.
“I think last year here we had a big shift and balance between qualifying and the race, so that caught us out in the race. And yeah, we were not reliable.
“So that, of course, it’s never nice at the beginning of the year.
“But we also knew that there was a lot of potential in that car just from the updates, but especially from the weight side of the car.”
Verstappen retired from last year’s Australian Grand Prix in a weekend he described as frustrating.
However, it proved a turning point as the team quickly understood where it went wrong and transformed the RB18 into the sport’s benchmark performer.
“We also understood quite quickly after the weekend what we did wrong with the setup,” Verstappen explained.
“But also you have to work on our reliability because I think from then onwards, it was quite alright in terms of reliability and of course we made big steps with the performance of the car.”
Verstappen went on to win a record 15 races in 2022, taking five in six races following the Australian Grand Prix.
It left him with 454 points and a second world drivers’ title at the end of the season, 146 clear of Leclerc with Perez a further three behind.
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