Verstappen has enjoyed his best start to a season in F1 as he trails Hamilton by just eight points after three races.

In previous seasons, Verstappen and Red Bull have often had to take risks to beat the dominant Mercedes of Hamilton, while now, they have a car that is likely to perform at every grand prix weekend and thus they can afford to settle for second, as seen at Portimao.

Brawn says Verstappen is now thinking about the bigger picture.

“It’s clear that Max Verstappen is approaching this championship in a different way because he finally has a title-winning car,” Brawn wrote in his post-race F1 column. “His mindset has changed and he’s got an eye on the whole championship.

“And it had to change because when you’re a title contender, the focus has to be on consolidating when you’re not the fastest and when opportunities such as a mechanical issue for a rival or a Safety Car present themselves, you must be in a position to strike.

“If Lewis had had an issue or Mercedes made a mistake in Portugal, Max was in a position to react, so while it was frustrating for him today, he can see Red Bull are responding and he accepts that there will be an ebb and flow to this championship.

Barcelona will potentially be different in terms of conditions and the type of track. And Monaco will be quite the event between the two, as they are both likely to be strong there.

“We’ve had three races on three different tracks and on each, there has been a proper fight between Max and Lewis, which bodes very well for a fascinating title battle this year.”

The former Ferrari and Mercedes boss heaped praise on Hamilton for his drive in Portugal.

Lewis Hamilton was his usual imperial self in Portugal, pulling off brilliant - and ultimately crucial - overtakes on both his teammate Valtteri Bottas and main title rival Max Verstappen to clinch victory,” Brawn added.

“He really had to work for the win today and it was a fine example of how the consistent challenge that is emerging from Red Bull and Max Verstappen is pushing Lewis to another level.”

 

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