Max Verstappen gives 'critical' reaction to winning Japanese Grand Prix as Red Bull dominate again

Max Verstappen gives 'critical' reaction to winning Japanese Grand Prix as Red Bull dominate again

WATCH NOW: Sports roundup as Max Verstappen wins Japanese Grand Prix

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 07/04/2024

- 08:28

Updated: 07/04/2024

- 09:04

The Dutch driver has cruised to yet another race win in Japan to extend his lead in the driver standings

Max Verstappen has outlined the 'critical' moment which saw him win his third race of the season at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Normal service was resumed in Suzuka as the Red Bull sped to victory, with team-mate Sergio Perez second for the third time in 2024.

Verstappen claimed pole in qualifying for the fourth race in a row this year and never looked like giving up his position on Sunday.

Perez ran him close in qualifying but again had to settle for second spot in the race ahead of Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen won his third race of the F1 season at the Japanese Grand Prix


Verstappen was delighted to win after retiring early at the Australian Grand Prix last time out.

And he said it was crucial Red Bull started well after the race was halted following a crash on the opening lap between Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo.

The race was paused for 30 minutes and resumed with a standing start.

Verstappen said: "It was very nice. The critical bit was the start to stay ahead and after that the car got better and better for me throughout the race, I don't know if it had to do with the clouds coming in.

"Everything went well - pit stops, strategy. It couldn't have been any better.

"The last race was a little hiccup the last race but very happy we are here back on top. Great fans and in front of Honda as well, it's fantastic to win here."

Perez admitted it was difficult after the restart but admitted he didn't have enough to outdo the three-time reigning world champion.

The Mexican said: "It was a good weekend for the team. First of all, I think obviously with the start, doing that restart again, it’s always quite hard to keep the focus for such a long period of time.

"It worked alright. My second start was a little bit better but just not enough to get Max.

"I think we paid the price a little bit because we were a little bit off balance during that first stint, which meant we couldn’t keep it alive.

"We had to box and we were undercut by Lando [Norris] and then I had to push too much on that medium stint.

"But then on the hard stint, I was a lot more comfortable. The pace came back. But I think I suffered a bit from that first stint a bit on balance.


Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz

Max Verstappen finished above Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz at the Japanese Grand Prix


"I think we are in a good momentum. If you remember here last year was probably my worst weekend.

"So I think if we are strong in places like this with a lot of high and medium-speed corners, I think we can be strong anywhere else."

Sainz, who won in Melbourne a fortnight ago, was pleased with how his Ferrari drove.

The Spaniard said: "I had a good race. I'm very happy because it was quite tough out there with the degradation but then the clouds came and the degradation went a lot lower and I thought one stop was quicker and we were on the two.

Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez recorded a third Red Bull 1-2 of the season


"I had to overtake a lot of cars out there. Overtaking was tricky, like always at Suzuka, you need to nail the last chicane to get a good run into Turn One. I could finish my moves but it was tough out there.

"I thought it would be very difficult to get back into third given how tricky it was to overtake the Mercedes in the second stint and how difficult it was to follow.

"I knew I needed a very big delta to approach Lando and Charles.

"In the end, we managed it. I was quick on the hard tyre. I really liked how the hard tyre gave me a feeling to push and I got the moves done and got the podium."

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