Max Verstappen will be more prone to making on-track errors if he is put under pressure in the Formula 1 title battle next year, says Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur.
Verstappen successfully defended his crown for a third straight season in 2023, winning 19 out of the 22 races to finish a record 290 points ahead of his competitors.
Red Bull only failed to win once during the whole year when Ferrari defeated it in Singapore, on a weekend where the RB19 lacked pace.
Vasseur was full of praise for Verstappen’s performances throughout the campaign, acknowledging the Dutchman’s ability to make very few mistakes.
“I’m not sure anyone has a doubt about this – he had a mega season,” Vasseur said, as quoted by RaceFans. “He was fighting with Checo [Perez] the first two or three events, but then he was on another planet.
“Clearly, he didn’t make a mistake the whole season. I think even when he struggled in qualifying – I think in Jeddah – it was due to an issue. And then he was always there, always making good starts with no contact – the only one [when he did] was Vegas.”
Verstappen broke many records during his title-winning year, including most consecutive victories and becoming the first driver to lead more than 1000 laps over a season.
Given how dominant Verstappen was in 2023, Vasseur believes if he is to be challenged next year, Ferrari will need to up its game in order to try and exploit more errors from the Red Bull driver.
“There is no doubting the fact that he was dominating all the season,” he said. “The only issue for us is, as with everybody, he will make more mistakes when he will be under pressure and nobody was able to put him under pressure this season.
“Other than the last two or three events – or Carlos in Singapore – is where he started to do some mistakes or that Red Bull made some mistakes in terms of set-up. We were just too far away to put this kind of pressure on him.”