Verstappen ‘ready to fight’ in the Japanese GP amid setback

Verstappen 'ready to fight' in the Japanese Grand Prix amid setback

Max Verstappen is “ready to fight” in this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix in an attempt to make a comeback from his early retirement at Melbourne.

Verstappen’s winning streak came to an abrupt end in Australia, but that is not enough to deter the Red Bull driver from his winning ways as F1 heads to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion had to retire within the first few laps of the most recent race after suffering a brake issue that resulted in somewhat of an explosion as he pulled into the pits to retire.

This meant that the Dutchman’s nine-race winning streak had come to an end, and race winner Carlos Sainz was the one who did it for the second time. It’s interesting to note that Sainz broke Verstappen’s winning streak of ten races in the 2023 Singapore GP which was followed by the Japanese Grand Prix last season.

However, Verstappen has the opportunity to bounce back at the Japanese Grand Prix after having an entire week to deal with the disappointment. There are doubts regarding Ferrari’s capacity to challenge Red Bull following their commanding 1-2 in Melbourne, with race winner Sainz overcoming Verstappen before the DNF, while Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez only finished in fifth.

Verstappen has cautioned Ferrari along with other rivals that he aims to fight for a third victory of the season in Suzuka.

“Suzuka is always a great circuit to go racing at,” Verstappen said ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. “As a team, we have had a lot of special memories here over the years including winning last year’s Constructors’ Championship as well as winning my second Drivers’ Championship here too.

“It has been nice to have had a break with family and friends before the racing starts and always fun to be able to spend some time in Tokyo too.

“The last race in Melbourne was unfortunate and these things happen, however we achieved nine race wins in a row, which is an impressive feat, so we are looking to come back even stronger for this weekend.

“The team is feeling confident for Suzuka: it is an iconic circuit and is always fun to drive. The track has a lot of high speed corners and high degradation and we need to ensure that we optimise our performance where we can, especially with rain forecasted for this weekend.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the car and ready to fight for the win this weekend.”

Verstappen has won the last two races in Suzuka and is in the running to become the first driver to secure three consecutive race victories in Japan since Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher won every race in Japan from 2000 to 2002 and if the Dutchman rebounds strongly from the Australian GP, he could match that record.

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