Max Verstappen: F1 title win would be 'extra special' in Japan

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Max Verstappen admits securing his second Formula 1 championship would be "extra special" at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The race at the historic Suzuka circuit returns to the F1 schedule for the first time post-COVID this weekend, with drivers already getting swept away in the unique atmosphere produced by the fans.

"Yeah, they are very passionate, crazy – but in a good way – and they really dress up for it as well," the Red Bull driver commented on Thursday.

Also Read:

"You see quite a few people walking around with a DRS rear wing on their head for example. It shows you how popular motorsport is, in general, in Japan.

"I arrived in Tokyo, turned on the TV and the first thing that popped up was racing, again – a different category, but still. Great culture, and I think that’s why we all love coming here."

And for Verstappen, victory and the fastest lap on Sunday would guarantee him becoming the first driver crowned champion at Suzuka since Sebastian Vettel in 2011. 

"It would make it a little bit extra special because of our relationship with Honda," he noted, with the logo of the iconic Japanese brand back on the RB18 this weekend.

"I think it was already a shame that we couldn’t be here last year already in a title fight, so that’s why we’re really looking forward to being back here and then we’ll see what happens.

"We need a perfect weekend, that’s for sure."

At the same time though, Verstappen maintains title thoughts are not at the forefront of his mind.

"I mean, it would be very nice if it happens here, but if it doesn’t happen here, I will be even more in favour at the next race," he said.

"It doesn’t really change anything; you want to have a good weekend and try to maximise everything you can, and of course I need a perfect weekend to be able to clinch the title here but, to be honest, I’m not really thinking about it too much."

The 25-year-old also heads to Japan needing to regroup after a difficult weekend in soggy Singapore brought his longest F1 win streak to a halt.

SI202210020344 news

And his emotions over Red Bull's botched qualifying at Marina Bay clearly remain high.

"It’s not rocket science, I mean, just pay attention to the fuel level!" he said, this after he had to abandon a likely pole position lap in Q3.

"So there is not much to really change... When you fuel the car for five laps, you can do five laps; you're not going to do six laps.

"You can talk about it for hours but it’s not going to suddenly change anything.

"It’s not just that, we had a very poor Friday in terms of the amount of laps. Also, there are a few things that went wrong because we made changes to the car, we couldn’t test as well because it’s wet, carried that onto the race.

"So a very messy weekend and I think that was just a prime example of how you don’t want a weekend to go. You learn from that…"