Max Verstappen wants a perfect weekend from his Red Bull team as he seeks to wrap up the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship title at the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix.
Not only is the fables venue owned by Honda, who powered his mighty RB13, but it can also be the place where he wraps up his second successive title. Hence, this is a very important weekend for Max and Red Bull.
Speaking in the team preview of Suzuka’s 32nd hosting of the Grand Prix, a previous four were held at Fuji, Verstappen said: “We’re finally back in Japan after what feels like a long time, I can’t wait to race in Suzuka again. I love being in Japan and I have a lot of good memories here, the food is great and the fans are very special, they are very kind and polite.
“We have another chance to win the Drivers Championship, we need a perfect weekend but it could be possible, we’ll give it our all. The track is very old school, there’s a lot of fast corners and you have to build throughout each session.”
“Perfect” it was not for Verstappen, a few days ago in Singapore when on Saturday the team made a rare error, under-fuelling the #1 car which resulted in an aborted final Q3 run when the Verstappen was called into the puts as he was about to scorch to pole position. He started eight on the grid.
“Let’s see what the weather will do as I hear there is rain incoming so that might spice things up a little bit,” added the Dutchman, with an eye on the temperamental weather that has affected several races there in the past.
If Verstappen wants perfection, he need only watch the replay of Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix and the manner in which teammate Sergio Perez whose performance was just about as good as it can be, it was his finest hour in F1.
The Mexican veteran, on a high from second on the grid, gave a masterclass of control, grit and determination to score his most impressive victory, although it has to be noted his shenanigans behind the safety car might have cost him dear on any other day.
But the stats show that the win is his. and together with Max they could wrap up Red Bull’s first F1 constructors’ F1 title since 2014.
Looking ahead to Japan, Perez said in the Red Bull preview: “Suzaka is such a unique circuit, the track is super special, especially the first sector and it is certainly one of the best in the world. You have to be really precise basically all the way to turn 11 to get a good lap, if you push too much or overhit it then you’re very compromised.
“The level of risk you have to be willing to take is very high, there is no runoff area so if you make a mistake things can go wrong very quickly. It’s a great combination to have in a circuit. Unfortunately, I have never been on the podium in Suzaka so it would be great to be there this Sunday.
“For me, the best memories in Japan are of the fans, so I would love to deliver for them and Honda this weekend,” concluded Perez.
Looking back on the great race in Japan, Verstappen made his F1 debut at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix – where he drove in FP1 for Scuderia Toro Rosso – making him the youngest driver to ever take part in an official Fa session.
It would be poetic justice if Max were to walk away from Suzuka, champion of the world again. He needs to win the race and set the fastest lap in the process for this to become reality; don’t bet against it!