Max Verstappen explained how he needed to “focus” with the threat of Lando Norris bearing down on him throughout the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
The Dutchman won the race with a margin of only 8.2 seconds, one of his closest yet in a year with 17 victories, and counting.
Tyre degradation was one of the biggest factors throughout the weekend, with Verstappen admitting that it was a key factor for Red Bull throughout the two-stop race.
“Maybe it looks fully easy from the outside, but I think for most of every stint, Lando was matching my lap-times,” Verstappen told media, including RacingNews365.
“It was always like the last five to ten laps when it seemed like then we had better tyre deg.”
Verstappen: It’s not like you can relax
Norris had one attempt at overtaking Verstappen seven laps into the restart, following a brief red flag period for a first corner incident.
Verstappen managed to defend from the McLaren driver, who later conceded that attempting another overtake would put him at risk to Fernando Alonso.
This did not ease the pressure on Verstappen however, who believes any mistake would have put him in the clutches of Norris for the lead.
“The beginning of every stint, I definitely had to focus a lot and I couldn’t afford to make mistakes,” he added.
“Around here with the high [tyre] deg as well, it’s not the easiest to drive.
“It’s not like you can just relax and let the car just roll into the corners without any consequence.
“You had to be really on it Luckily everything we did, also strategy-wise, pit stops, were good.”