Max Verstappen plans to put lowly Singpore's finish behind him

Max Verstappen plans to put Singpore’s fifth-placed finish behind him in Japan… but singles out McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri as major threats to his return to winning ways

  • The defending world champion struggled to master the street circuit in Red Bull 
  • But the Dutchman claimed that Suzuka had felt ‘very nice’ on the simulator 
  • Verstappen highlighted the strength of the upgrades McLaren have made 

Max Verstappen has insisted last week’s lowly finish in Singapore was just a blip as the reigning world champion set out to ensure normal service is resumed in Japan.

The Dutchman, 25, saw his 10-race winning run come to an end last weekend as his Red Bull struggled to master the razor-tight street circuit in Marina Bay.

Carlos Sainz went onto secure only his second Formula One victory ahead of Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc, but with long, fast corners ahead of him in Suzuka, Verstappen is confident he can get back to winning ways at the Japanese Grand Prix.

‘I mean, Singapore is so different to what we will experience here in terms of the way you set up the car, so I’m also not worried that a weekend like that will upset our weekend here,’ he said on Thursday.

‘It was not our strongest weekend of course, but it’s important that now we just analyse everything and step by step, we’ll get there. But there’s also no real rush.

Max Verstappen is keen to look ahead to race weekend after faltering in Singapore last week 

The two-time world champion ended his ten-race winning streak with a lowly fifth-place finish

Second-placed Lando Norris was named as a rival to watch by after McLaren’s new upgrades

‘(Suzuka) felt very nice on the simulator,’ he added, ‘and normally that’s a good indication when everything comes quite easy, so I hope of course that it’s going to be exactly the same in real life.’

Hamilton and George Russell showed promising signs that Mercedes may finally have rediscovered their pace at the end of the Singapore Grand Prix, but Verstappen singled out the duo’s fellow Briton, Lando Norris, as well as Australian rookie, Oscar Piastri, as his biggest threats in Japan this weekend, with the pair boasting impressive upgrades heading into Round 17.

‘Honestly, what they have done this year is quite impressive, from where they started to where they are now,’ he added.

‘So I, for sure, expect them to be strong. But of course, I hope to be ahead!’

Verstappen’s shock performance in Singapore onset celebrations from some quarters of the Formula One fanbase, who have been eager to see a more diverse set of results in response to the Dutchman’s tight stranglehold of the sport.

But the world championship leader has described those dissenting voices as ‘not real fans’ and accepts no responsibility for what some may view as a ‘boring’ campaign.

Carlos Sainz won his second grand prix at Marina Bay, and Lewis Hamilton bagged a third-place finish and his fifth podium of the year

‘I don’t think about what is good for F1, I don’t think it was necessarily bad, what was happening, we were just better than everyone else.

‘If people can’t appreciate that, you are not a real fan, but this is how it goes.

‘This is why I was super relaxed about it. We didn’t perform and other people did a better job than us and deserved to win.

‘They shouldn’t win because people say it’s boring that we are winning.’

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