Max Verstappen is expecting a much closer season in 2023, after a year which saw him conclude the Drivers’ Championship with four races to spare.
The Red Bull driver scored a record 15 wins in 2022, winning his second consecutive world championship, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by 146 points after winning nine of the last 11 races.
But Red Bull didn’t get their way for much of the year on pure pace, with Ferrari taking multiple pole positions over the course of the season and seemingly level with Red Bull, but Verstappen credited his team for how they were able to handle the races in ways their rivals could not.
When the world champion was asked if he would like to see a tighter title fight in 2023, with last year seemingly a foregone conclusion of the summer break, he heard it wasn’t that simple.
“I mean, I think even last year the gap was a little bigger than it really should have been,” Verstappen said in response to a question from PlanetF1.com following the launch of the RB19.
“Because if you look at how difficult it was to win some races, I don’t think you can talk about total domination, right?
“So, a lot of teams made mistakes and that, obviously, with us not making so many mistakes and being quite consistent throughout the year, we benefited from that.
“And I think this is obviously a great quality of the team but, for sure, now in the second year of regulation, I think people will understand the cars better.
“So, for sure, it will be much closer. I’m sure.”
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Now looking to become just the fifth driver to win three world championships in a row, the Red Bull driver will be counting on the RB19 to deliver the same result his predecessor achieved on track last year.
But also within himself, he added that he is trying to extract what he can to continue improving race after race.
“I know it can be difficult to replicate the season sometimes, but I think it’s the same with the car, right?” Verstappen reasoned.
“You always try to improve it, and I always look at the little details like even when you have had a good race, there are always things you could have done better, I think, and then of course you also learn from the bad races.
“So yeah, always looking for these little improvements and the general experience that you gain year after year and try to do better, but of course it also really depends on the pack you have around.”