Bahrain Grand Prix winner and championship leader Max Verstappen says he was “very happy” to take victory at the Sakhir circuit after missing out on wins at the last two races around the venue.
The reigning world champion started the new season in dominant fashion, converting pole position into victory. It is the first time he has ever won the opening race of a season.
Verstappen put his success down to how well he and the team had managed their soft tyres, having run the two opening stints on used softs.
“[It was a] very good first stint where I basically made my gap,” Verstappen said. “From there on it was all about just looking after the tyres because you never really know what’s going to happen later on in the race.
“We just wanted to make sure that we had the right tyres and in good condition as well. So of course very happy to finally also win here in Bahrain.”
Verstappen alerted his team about his downshifts causing rear locking on his car in the early laps of the race. However, he insists it was of no real concern for him.
“Nothing, nothing big,” he said. “Just little, little things. You always want to fine tune. So I think they’re quite easy to get on top of.”
Having started the championship so dominantly, Verstappen is not convinced that Red Bull will be the clear fastest car at every round of the season. However, he is sure that Red Bull will be able to compete for the title with the RB19 after the pace shown during the opening race weekend.
“I think we have a good race package,” Verstappen said. “Of course it will depend a bit race-to-race, but we can definitely fight with this.
“Also a big thank you to the team over the winter what they’ve done again to give us such a quick race car again.”
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2023 Bahrain Grand Prix
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