Ross Brawn is of the view that Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen composure has grown in the last few Formula 1 races where it is not just about showing pace.
The Dutchman has had a mixed run so far in the 2018 season but sits 22 points ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo who has had six retirements so far. In the last three races, Verstappen has scored 43 points with two podium finishes.
In fact, Verstappen battled through issues during Singapore’s qualifying and still put the car in second position which impressed many. He lost out to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the start of the race but regained the place to finish second.
The strategy and Verstappen’s ability to manage the issue worked well, which Brawn thinks shows how the youngster is now composing himself in the races rather than showcase abnormal pace and lose out in the fight.
“Max Verstappen celebrated second place in fine style and it was well deserved, as the young Dutchman squeezed every last drop of performance out of his Red Bull – first when he unexpectedly put it on the front row on Saturday and then on Sunday with an impeccable drive that showed real maturity,” Brawn wrote in his post race column.
“In his two tussles with Vettel, on the opening lap and then as he rejoined the track after his pit stop, Max didn’t put a foot wrong. After that, he even managed to close on Hamilton when they came up behind traffic, but even then he avoided unnecessary risks, perhaps aware that he didn’t have a real chance of winning.
“It shows that the Dutchman has all the hallmarks of a future champion. It’s not enough to just produce phenomenal performances in some races if others are marred by silly mistakes, but more and more Verstappen’s race are characterised by not just prodigious pace but also composure.
“Max is growing in stature and he now needs a car with which he can always fight for victory, not just in certain situations. And even if Red Bull is a relatively young team, it has shown through their past success that they know how to do that,” he added.
Meanwhile, Brawn defended Ferrari’s idea to gamble on the ultrasoft tyres with Vettel and push with an aggressive mindset to unsettle Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. He felt it was the only thing Ferrari could have tried to make it a different race.
“In the race, Vettel and his team opted for an aggressive strategy, pitting early for Ultrasoft tyres, rather than the more obvious Softs, precisely because they knew they couldn’t win by playing it safe,” he wrote.
“The gamble didn’t pay off, but it was probably worth a shot. The gap in both championships is not yet insurmountable, but it is significant, especially against a strong rival in the habit of winning.”