David Coulthard lauds 'champion's drive' by Max Verstappen to keep Charles Leclerc back in Miami

Max Verstappen celebrates winning in Miami

Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has said that previous versions of Max Verstappen might have lost the Miami Grand Prix to Charles Leclerc on Sunday, but that the Dutchman drove like a champion to take victory.

Max is having a fine year with him winning every race that he has finished, and when he has been forced into retirement thanks to reliability issues, he has been in second place.

It’s a phenomenal level of consistency from the reigning champ, but perhaps we should expect nothing less now from a driver that has proven his bottle when it comes to high-pressure situations.

Indeed, he certainly had to soak up the heat on Sunday both from Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari in the closing laps and from the conditions in Miami, but he handled both supremely well to take a fine victory and close the gap down to Leclerc in the standings to 19 points.

Reflecting on that, then, Coulthard suggested that it was a real champion’s drive from Verstappen, and that in previous years when Max was a bit younger we might have seen him succumb to the pressure Charles was applying:

“I don’t think there is a big difference in the actual cars which I find fantastic when you consider they’ve been designed and built in different places,” he said on Channel 4.

“I think it’s about tyre management on any given weekend that is going to be the deciding factor.

Max Verstappen after the Miami GP
MIAMI, FLORIDA – MAY 08: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing reacts in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at the Miami International Autodrome on May 08, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

“Checo Perez was not that far behind Max on-track, he doesn’t deliver that last little bit of pace Max does, so yes there is a Max factor.

“But I think it’s not as easy as saying ‘the Red Bull is the quicker car’.

“The pressure on Max in that situation was off the scale.

“And you could see them after the race, both of them looking pretty hot and sweaty, this was a hard race, which I loved to see.

“And I think that Max really drove like the World Champion he is, had that been a younger Max or a lesser Max, then I think Charles probably could have got the pass done.”

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