Verstappen, who emerged triumphant from the Suzuka race, was met with formidable challenges from fast-starting racers Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris right from the first corner. Despite their rapid pace, Verstappen maintained his dominance over the race.
As the race initiated, Piastri, the front-row starter, along with Norris were on either side of Verstappen. Verstappen described the situation as having confined space to fend off both opponents.
Verstappen elaborates on his defensive tactics that were put in play. As per his account, both McLaren cars made a swift “jump” right off the line. His primary objective was to secure the inside lane from Piastri.
Verstappen recounts the tight start of the race. “Of course, the start was a bit tight in the first two corners, but after that, the car was very nice to drive again,” he said.
Describing the race, Verstappen continued, “I saw in the right mirror that Oscar had a little bit of a jump on me, but then at the same time, I saw in my left mirror that Lando had a real jump on me.” He shared that though he tried to block Piastri, Norris appeared on his left flank with high-speed and a little disruption in his course had him struggling.
Offering further details, Verstappen added, “He then moved a bit to the right and I was like, ‘I can’t go more to the right!’. So, I was trying to straighten up and luckily, nothing happened.” He acknowledged the close call but brushed it off as just another aspect of racing.
According to Norris, he managed to get ahead of Verstappen for a brief “half a second.” Meanwhile, Piastri jovially claimed, he found himself positioned perfectly to recreate the famous 1990 clash between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
In fact, Norris suggested during qualifying on Saturday that Piastri should attempt to mirror the Senna-Prost incident. Piastri felt that even though he had lost a place to Norris, it was best to maintain his third position for the remainder of the race.
Throwing light on his decision-making process, Piastri stated that being in the third position was definitely the safest option and had further added, “Looking back on it now, I was in the perfect position to emulate Senna and Prost. Like, literally perfect.”