Max Verstappen attributes his victory in the Miami Grand Prix to his strategic decision to start the race on Hard compound tyres, allowing him to have a longer opening stint compared to his teammate Sergio Perez, who started on Medium tyres and stopped on Lap 20 to switch to Hard tyres.
Despite the age of his tyres, Verstappen was able to maintain his lead over Perez until he pitted on Lap 46, rejoining the race just a second behind his teammate. With the advantage of fresher tyres, Verstappen overtook Perez on the next lap and held onto his lead until the end of the race.
Verstappen expressed satisfaction with his performance, highlighting the crucial role played by his tire management skills.
“It was better than expected, I guess,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.
“It was just really trying to understand a bit how they would last in the beginning or the middle of that stint, I was not sure.
“That’s why probably I was a bit slower than I could have been, but that also that made me go faster, so that’s where I could extend my gap again.
“And that, of course, made my race, because once I made the pit stop, I was only one and a half seconds behind [Perez], and with a fresher compound, of course you can pass.”
Verstappen has “always been good” at tyre management.
Perez has earned a reputation for being extremely skilled at controlling his tyres, earning him the moniker “Tyre Whisperer” from some.
Verstappen, on the other hand, questioned the validity of that theory, claiming that he had always been competent at controlling the life of his tyres during a stint.
“People say that, but I never really understood why,” said Verstappen.
“I think I’ve always been very good on tyres, but it’s very small margins.
“But this has already been a factor in the last few years, where if you look after your tyres well, some races it works out a bit better than others.
Verstappen had some frightening remarks for any possible competitors seeking for a breach in the Dutchman’s armour after coming through to win impressively from tenth on the grid and increase his lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
“I always feel unbeatable,” Verstappen said.
“But sometimes other people also have a really good day, and they can be close to you or match you and be ahead.
“What is important is to try and be close to 100% perfect every single time. [Saturday] wasn’t perfect, so overall, this weekend wasn’t perfect.
“But it’s a long season, and I try to always be as close as possible to perfect.”