Max, you had a brilliant win in Imola, how did it feel to get that victory?
It was of course great to win, after missing out in Bahrain it felt very satisfying to win the race in Imola. There were definitely a few things that we wanted to learn from the Bahrain race, which we did, and we could bring home the win. We also know that it’s a very long season, so we just have to stay very focussed and I am always looking ahead, Imola wasn’t perfect so we have to keep pushing.
Talk us through your race start and the run to Turn 1.
It’s always tricky to know what’s going to happen but it felt like I had a good launch, I didn’t maximise performance on Saturday so it definitely felt good to lead the race from Turn 1. I’m happy with what we have with the RB16B, it’s faster, it has more grip and better balance. We lost downforce with the floor, but I think we lost a bit less than other teams and it shows that we made a good step forward. We’re starting the season strong, the best we’ve had since I’ve been with the Team. It’s a long season, and if we want to fight for the championship, we have to keep improving.
Looking ahead to Portugal, are you excited to go back?
I am looking forward to going back to Portugal, we were on the podium there last year and I think we have a better car now so I’m looking forward to extracting everything we can from the car and have a bit of fun out there. Every race weekend so far, we’ve really felt that there is a chance to win, it feels like a different mindset now when you know you can fight for pole. We’ve definitely learned a lot over the years, I’m very excited to see what is ahead of us. It won’t be easy but we are going to do everything we can to stay in the fight this season.
- Max is just one point off the lead in the Drivers’ Championship entering this race, but he has led the most laps this season. Max has led 90 laps in 2021 compared to Lewis Hamilton’s 29 so far.
- Despite only being 23 years old, Max’s 44th career podium in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix moved him ahead of Sir Jackie Stewart on the all-time table. Having now won 11 career races, he is still one month younger than Michael Schumacher when he won his first F1 race at the 1992 Belgian GP.
- Sergio Perez started a Grand Prix from the front row for the first time in his career at Imola, setting a new Formula One record for his longest career before doing so, it was his 193rd start.
- Sergio and Max put two Honda-powered Red Bulls in the top three on the grid at Imola. This weekend they are seeking to give Honda their first front-row lockout as a power unit supplier since Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger at the 1991 Australian Grand Prix.
- Max’s win in Italy was the first Honda-powered win in Imola since Ayrton Senna 30 years ago.