Max Verstappen’s former F1 performance engineer Blake Hinsey believes the reigning World Champion is just as good at saving his tyres as team-mate Sergio Perez, a trait that has worked wonders for the Mexican over the years.
Perez’s ability to look after his tyres is remarkable, with the 33-year-old having often been able to run much deeper into a race than anybody else, giving him a huge pace advantage in the closing stages.
What’s even more incredible about his tyre saving skills, though, is that he’s able to do it whilst posting scarily consistent lap times, with Hinsey noting that it’s become a “narrative” of Checo being the king of tyre saving.
It appears, though, that Verstappen and Perez are “both monsters” when it comes to looking after their rubber, with Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Mark having even referred to the 25-year-old as a “tyre whisperer” last season.
“Max has gradually become a tyre whisperer,” Marko said last year. “We give him a certain plan and he executes it optimally.”
Hinsey agrees that it’s not just Checo who is “exceptionally good” at looking after his tyres, with Verstappen also being able now to increase his pace whilst still making his rubber last.
“There’s the narrative of him being exceptionally good on the tyres,” Hinsey told Channel 4 following Perez’s win in Baku.
“I think the dangerous thing for all the other teams is both Max and Checo are insanely good on their tyres. They have the conundrum they can do it, go fast and save tyres.
“That’s the thing, most drivers you asked them ‘we need you to increase your pace by two tenths, can you look after the tyre?’ They say ‘no’.
“Whatever it is about the car and combination with these two guys, I’ve seen Checo do it many times, and I’ve seen Max do it multiple times. They’re both monsters.
“But what is it exactly that he’s good at? Yes the low speed 90 degree corners [are] great at it, taking risks when he needs to leaving just enough margin repeatedly over and over in the way that you need to do that to do well in a race and qualifying session around the street circuit.
“They both can do it. But he’s traditionally been much closer at the circuits numerically.”