Max Verstappen has opened up on his headline-grabbing performance at the Chinese Grand Prix after his clash with Sebastian Vettel and feels he’s changed his approach to upcoming Formula 1 races.

The Red Bull driver looked a strong favourite for victory at the Shanghai International Circuit after his team’s smart strategy call to pit both cars for fresh tyres under the safety car period.

After a near-miss with Lewis Hamilton, which saw Daniel Ricciardo overtake the pair as Verstappen ran wide before eventually going on to win in China, the Dutch driver’s race was wrecked by clashing with Vettel. Verstappen recovered to finish in fifth place but admits his mistakes cost him a shot at victory and after apologising to Vettel immediately after the race in China the Dutch driver has taken the break between races to assess his performance.

“I’m not there to finish fifth with the car I had at that time [in China],” Verstappen said. “I mean, maybe I wanted it too much, the victory.

“To just slow yourself down, not do anything and drive around, I’m not like that, I’m not here to fill up the field.

“I just want to be myself, you learn from it but that doesn’t mean you have to drive slower, it actually means you have to drive faster but with a little bit in control. That’s what I learned.”

Verstappen was also eager to play down the impact of his race in China on his outlook for the rest of the 2018 F1 campaign as he looks to make up for lost points. Verstappen is currently eighth in the F1 world drivers’ championship, behind midfield fighters McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, while he sits 36 points off of early leader Vettel.

“It’s also not a big drama what happened in China,” he said. “The end result is not good but you also have to look at the strengths and I think the whole season already, pace wise, has been good.

“Just the results have not been there yet, but there are only three races gone, 18 more to go.”


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