Max Verstappen insists he is not expecting the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend to be an “easy task” for himself or Red Bull.
The Dutchman cruised to victory at the season-opening round in Bahrain earlier this month, with team-mate Sergio Perez crossing the line in second place, after the pair also locked out the front row of the grid during qualifying.
Red Bull has been tipped as the heavy favourites to take the title glory in 2023 after just one round, as it dominated the 2022 campaign en route to double-championship success, before displaying ominous pace in Bahrain.
But Verstappen says that the different characteristics of the circuit in Jeddah mean that it will be a new challenge.
“After a great start in Bahrain I don’t expect it to be an easy task in Jeddah, it is a completely different circuit and needs the car to be quick,” said Verstappen, who claimed victory in Saudi Arabia last year.
“Nevertheless, with the high-speed corners, I do believe we can have a strong car around this track.
“The track changes that have been made are mainly for visibility, so hopefully it has improved things a bit for us drivers, as it was definitely dangerous in some areas.
“It’s a really cool street circuit, with quite a lot of grip, so I always enjoy going back there to race.”
Perez returns to the venue at which he grabbed his maiden F1 pole position 12 months ago.
However, he lost out in the race and crossed the line in fourth, behind team-mate Verstappen and the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
“We have to try and keep the momentum going from Bahrain,” Perez said. “There are definitely a lot of improvements we can still do, to try and make our car better.
“We gathered plenty of information from the first race and we have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes.
“It will be very interesting to see how everyone performs in Jeddah this week, it is a very different track to Bahrain.
“I am looking forward to going back to this circuit after getting pole in 2022. I was very unlucky last year with the timing of the safety car while leading the race so hopefully it can be my turn to win.”
Leave a Reply