Verstappen reveals surprise challenger in recent F1 domination

Max Verstappen feels “constantly challenging” himself to get a performance in Formula 1 for Red Bull is a bigger boost than anything a competitor can offer.

Verstappen has won 38 of the 50 races since ground effects rules were introduced for 2022, and looks set to clinch his fourth consecutive title this season after four wins from the first six races.

During that period, Verstappen was not regularly challenged by any driver, with Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez all emerging as the closest contenders for a number of races before falling away.

In 2024, Verstappen's average margin of victory is 15.602 seconds, with Perez finishing behind his team leader in each of the four victories. But while Verstappen has looked capable of taking it easy, he disagrees with that notion.

“The first five races were not as clear as people try to make it out,” Verstappen replied when asked. Racing News 365 If anything, tougher challenges await both driver and team.

“For a long time now, from the outside, there seems to be no challenge – but I challenge myself every weekend to try and make the most of it.

“For me, it's never boring, because I don't need another team or another driver to give me that challenge – I'm constantly challenging myself to try to get the best results.

“It's not like I'm missing something or I'm waiting for something to come along to suddenly feel more appreciated or more validated in what we're doing.”

Closer battle

The two races Verstappen did not win before the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola came in Australia, where he scored a DNF, and in Miami, where he finished second behind Lando Norris.

Fears increased after the Bahrain Grand Prix that Verstappen would dominate 2024 as he did in 2023, when he won 19 out of 22 races, scored 575 points and led 1,003 laps, breaking previous records.

But a big promotion for McLaren in Miami and one for Ferrari at Imola gave hope to the idea that Red Bull could pull back and close the gap with the world champions – something he agreed with.

“It's always about attention to detail, you can make a difference and some weekends are better than others,” he added.

“But I think since the beginning of the year, the other teams have become closer compared to last year.

“As a team, we had a good start to the year, doing a lot of things right, and of course we had a DNF [in Australia] “This cost us a lot of points, but I expect this season to be closer overall than last year.”


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