F1's Max Verstappen says Singapore race 'very tough' but he's delighted with his return

F1’s Max Verstappen says Singapore race ‘very tough’ but he’s delighted with his return

F1's Max Verstappen explains what makes the Singapore track so difficult

After a two-year hiatus thanks to the pandemic, the Singapore Grand Prix – Formula 1’s first-ever night race – returns with a bang this Sunday at a circuit that Oracle Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says he is delighted with.

“We’re always very excited to come here because the track is amazing to drive,” the defending champion told CNBC’s John Patrick Ong on Wednesday.

Although the Belgian-Dutch rider, who races for the Netherlands, said Singapore’s Marina Bay street circuit is “always a challenge”, it is one he is looking forward to.

“It’s a very difficult track simply because it’s a street circuit… and you always have to leave a little more margin than on [a] normal way.”

F1 street circuits are generally bumpier than regular race tracks and have more corners. Of all the F1 circuits, the 3-mile Marina Bay loop has the second most corners, with at least one safety car deployed in every race to date.

Max Verstappen takes third place and celebrates on the podium during the Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 22, 2019. The Singapore Grand Prix is ​​set to return as Formula One’s only night race on October 2.

Clive Mason | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

“Normally it’s one of the toughest or toughest on the calendar,” Verstappen said, but it’s the one he “will try to win.”

Referring to the humidity of the city-state, he added that he was not looking forward to “[losing] a lot of liquid.”

“We hadn’t been here for a while… so it will be very interesting for us to understand the track [and] how much has changed.”

The The #1 Red Bull driver has a 116-point lead at the top of the standings and has a mathematical chance of winning the championship.

Hungarian Grand Prix blow

But things haven’t always been easy for Verstappen.

At the Hungarian Grand Prix in July, he had to start in 10th position after an engine problem during the qualifying session. Despite this, he managed to pull off a win.

“As a team, I think we made all the right choices, in terms of pit timing, and we skipped a few people,” he said.

Max Verstappen won the race at the Hungarian Formula 1 Aramco Grand Prix on July 31, 2022 in Mogyorod, Hungary. Although he had to start in 10th position after a power unit misfire in the qualifying session, he managed to take a victory.

Robert Szaniszlo | Nurphoto | Getty Images

On his 42nd lap, Verstappen spun 360 degrees which initially cost him the lead from Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

“You just have to try to stay patient and wait for your moment again, and we got back to the front and we could win the race,” he said.

“It was really, really satisfying. Because when I woke up that day, I didn’t expect to win the race.”

Ground effect, a car design feature that F1 banned in 1982, was reintroduced this year. It allows drivers to follow the car in front of them more closely, allowing for more exciting wheel-to-wheel racing.

While Verstappen said he had to readapt to the new designs at the start of the season, his grip on the car improved.

“I think you could already see on quite a few tracks that there was a bit more overtaking, a bit more racing. And I think that’s what we want to see.”

“Sometimes the second is OK”

The Red Bull Racing team announced a multi-year partnership with cryptocurrency exchange company Bybit in February.

Verstappen drew similarities between the crypto industry and the world of F1, saying that “in a way it’s always also about risk management.”

“In a way, it’s the same for a market, isn’t it? Sure, you’re trying to make a lot of money, but sometimes settling for a maybe safer bet may actually work better in the long run.”

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrate his victory on the podium after the Italian Grand Prix on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy.

Dan Istitene – Formula 1 | Formula 1 | Getty Images

F1, which involves cars racing at over 200mph, has always been known as risky competition. But Verstappen has expressed confidence in his team’s car.

“I know I have a car to fight for the championship, so you don’t always have to risk it all,” he said.

“Sometimes second is OK, instead of trying to achieve the ultimate goal of winning a race, it’s always about scoring points.”

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