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Max Verstappen approaches 2022 F1 Azerbaijan GP race 'like any other' despite having a string of disappointments historically

Max Verstappen talks to the media in the Paddock prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on June 10, 2022 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen talks to the media in the Paddock prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on June 10, 2022 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Niharika Ghorpade

Max Verstappen claims he will approach the 2022 Azerbaijan GP just like any other race on the calendar despite the disappointments in the past. The Dutchman felt his tire blow-out and retirement from last year will not make him want to adopt a conservative approach.

Speaking at the FIA drivers' press conference, the Red Bull champion said:

“Like any other, to be honest. We just need to see through practice, what we can do with the car, see where we are at. And try to find the best balance and then hopefully, of course, we are going to be quick enough to try and win the race.”
🗣 "I’m looking forward to returning to Baku. It’s a tricky track with big braking zones and little run off, finding the best set up for the car will be difficult."#AzerbaijanGP | @Max33Verstappen 🇳🇱 https://t.co/mPuu4StNRg

The reigning world champion believes everything depends on the functioning of the car on the street circuit and the buildup to Sunday. Highlighting the importance of finding the right balance around this circuit, Max Verstappen feels they will have to optimize their car package to its best this weekend.

On whether he will approach the race differently or adopt a more conservative approach, the Red Bull driver revealed that he will be approaching it like any other race on the calendar. The Dutchman was leading the 2021 Baku race for more than 40 laps when a mysterious tire blowout caused him to retire. He said:

“No, because it's not our fault. So, there's nothing we can do. We just have completely different tyres anyway this year, so the tyres are going to behave anyway very, very different.”

Max Verstappen believes it is important for Red Bull to focus on their goals irrespective of their rival Ferrari’s approach

The 24-year-old driver believes it is hard to outline the challenges for Red Bull’s current car around the tricky and challenging Baku circuit and feels they just have to work with what they have.

He said:

“Don't know yet, to be honest. I think it's important to just go out there and see what we need from the car and then just work from there.”

Ferrari’s team principal Mattia Binotto recently mentioned that the team was targeting being competitive rather than focusing on winning the championship.

Upon being asked whether Ferrari’s approach gave Red Bull a psychological edge, Max Verstappen felt that the Austrian team needed to focus on itself irrespective of what its rivals said.

Getting down to business in Baku 💪 #AzerbaijanGP 🇦🇿 https://t.co/DicTe4dLCC

Verstappen said:

“I mean, we just have to focus on ourselves and they’re very competitive. Its good for the sport, and from our side, we enter every weekend to try and win the race. But it doesn't change if somebody else of another team says something.”

Max Verstappen currently leads the championship but has been unsuccessful on several occasions in Baku in the past and has a very narrow margin over Charles Leclerc and his teammate Sergio Perez. With a closely fought title and a tricky circuit at hand, the Dutchman will be looking forward to redeeming himself from his past disappointments at the venue.


What's your favorite race of the 2022 season so far? Tell us in the comments below..

Edited by Anmol Gandhi

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