Christian Horner reveals Max Verstappen wanted to win F1 Japanese GP by 20 seconds after the loss in Singapore.

While the loss in Singapore was handled well on the media front, but inside it did affect both Red Bull and Verstappen. The competitive nature always comes into play and it was no surprise that the Dutchman wanted to outclass the field in F1 Japanese GP.

From the get go, he was on it on Friday and saw it through on Saturday after securing pole by 0.581s margin and eventually Sunday’s race by 19.387s gap. Post-race, team boss Horner revealed that he wanted to win by 20 seconds margin.

“I think sometimes the races you lose are the weekends that you learn most from,” said Horner to media. “It was a big reminder to everybody that it is very easy to miss the target and I think we all left Singapore knowing that ultimately the winning run have come to an end but we were a little frustrated.

“I played padel tennis with Max on Wednesday and he was properly fired up and he said: ‘I want to win the race by 20 seconds’. And in fairness, he came within 0.7s of achieving that if not for the blue flag at the end. You could tell from the very first lap in FP1 where on the hard tyre, he was 1.8 seconds quicker than the rest of the field on medium or soft tyres at that point, he was totally focused on this event.

“It is a circuit that he loves and enjoys and I think it is ultimately one of the driver circuits. It was an outstanding performance. His laps in qualifying in particular the final lap has got to be up there with one of the best laps of all time in qualifying. And then he converted that after not the best of getaways, but he was able to hang on to the lead and then thereafter build a very commanding lead and control the race.

“He is just a racer, and he doesn’t need a lot of motivation. But he said he came here very keen to re-establish the season that he’s been having,” summed up Horner, who notes that Verstappen has that ability which he channels in a way that makes him the driver he is now where he linked to champions like Michael Schumacher.

“I think he has got the inner hunger, determination and huge ability which he channels it, he doesn’t get distracted by some of the talking in Formula 1,” said Horner. “He is just an out and out racer, if he is not racing in the real world, he is racing in the virtual world. That’s his passion, that’s what he wants to do.”

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