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Verstappen: ‘All good with defensive move on Lewis’

Max Verstappen clinched his sixth podium finish in Suzuka, but came under the scrutiny of the stewards for a defensive move on Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the race.

As the pair exited the fast 130R sweep, Hamilton appeared to have the speed to pull up alongside the Red Bull at the chicane but Verstappen closed the door under braking, forcing the Mercedes down the escape road.

“I saw him coming in my mirrors,” explained Verstappen.

“Already on the laps before he was closing in quite a bit there. I saw already out of Turn 14 that he had a good exit so I was using a bit of energy and defended into the last chicane.

” I know he’s fighting for the world championship so you’re not going to do crazy things, of course, but I think in the end it was all good.”

The Dutchman quickly moved off the line, latching onto the back of Nico Rosberg but gradually lost ground to the faster Mercedes while keeping the men behind at bay.

Both Red Bull drivers were among the first to stop on lap 11 and take on the hard compound tyres, from there on Verstappen simply kept his race and position in check.

“The car was feeling quite good, I was trying to follow Nico a bit and I think in general we did a great strategy so the car was working well.

” I managed to keep my tyres alive and to come home in second. Of course that’s also a great result for myself and I think also one of my best races so far, but also for the team and the constructors’ it was a very good result.”

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