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Max Verstappen has explained that a good car and the feeling of knowing he will win future races means he feels no pressure in his Formula One World Championship battle with Charles Leclerc. The Red Bull ace remains top of the leaderboard as he seeks to defend his title.
Last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix was the first race this season that Verstappen finished but failed to win. The Dutchman came third behind team-mate Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
Verstappen is nine points ahead of Ferrari star Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship as he aims to win consecutive titles. The 24-year-old has revealed that he feels no pressure in his battle against the Monegasque driver because he believes in his car and feels he will continue to win races.
“I think it doesn’t really matter where you are in the championship versus second [place],” Verstappen told journalists ahead of the Monaco GP.
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“It’s more about what [performance] you have in the car. If your car is good and you know that you can win races in the future then it’s not so much pressure.
“I think as Formula One drivers, we’ve been in the sport for a while and we know what we can do. At least from my experience, it doesn’t really make a difference. I just want to have a good car because that gives you the confidence to do well.”
Verstappen is seemingly over the performance issues that caused him concern in the opening months of the season. Failures to win in Bahrain and in Australia were down to a fuel problem.
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He has won in Saudi Arabia, Italy, Miami and Spain, though, to take him top of the leaderboard. Leclerc suffered a disappointing fourth-place finish in his home race last weekend.
Verstappen said Red Bull did a ‘very good job’ to ensure two podium finishes for him and Perez in Monaco. “Today was really about strategy and making the right calls. And I have to say the team was very relaxed and on it with their calls, like, very straightforward,” he said afterwards.
“There was no doubt. It was like: ‘pit now, we go on this tyre’, ‘pit now again we go on this tyre’. They did a really good job with that.
“And yes, I think as a whole team we can be very pleased with the Sunday. I mean, it was a very hectic one with the rain and stuff, but I think we executed it well and I extended my points lead, which I didn’t expect last night, so I think that’s a positive.”
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