Max Verstappen, the 'What, am I worried?' The Formula 1 guy

For many racing drivers, Formula 1 is all-consuming. But not for Max Verstappen. “Sometimes people take F1 too seriously, like it’s a ...


For many racing drivers, Formula 1 is all-consuming. But not for Max Verstappen.

“Sometimes people take F1 too seriously, like it’s a life and death situation, thinking ‘If I don’t make it to Formula 1 my life is over’, or something like that” Red Bull’s Verstappen said in an interview.

“For me, it never was and never will be. I’m very happy to be in Formula 1 now, but even if I wasn’t I would still be doing something else, racing stuff to have fun, have a good time.

This underlines his calm attitude towards not only his life, but also his first serious challenge for the Formula 1 drivers’ title.

Ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix in October, Verstappen surprised many by saying that if he didn’t win the championship this year, finishing second wouldn’t change his life.

“I know if my car is fast enough until the end of the season I will win the championship, but if it doesn’t we probably won’t win it,” said Verstappen, who is Dutch. “In the end, it’s not going to change my world.

“Of course, the goal, the dream, is always to win the championship, but you have to be lucky, you have to have the right car so that it is at the right time of the season or throughout the season. “

Verstappen maintained his philosophical and grounded approach from an early age. He doesn’t rely on a psychologist or other wellness experts to channel his energy like some other drivers do. It comes naturally.

“I like what I do in F1, and I always try to do my best, but there is no extra pressure,” said Verstappen. “I would say if you have a good car it takes the pressure off even more.

“It means you can start a weekend knowing you can get a good result. I think that makes me really calm.

Verstappen’s relaxed attitude about winning is aided by the fact that he drives one of the best cars for one of the best Formula 1 teams. This helped Verstappen win eight Grands Prix and open a 12 point lead over Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes with five races remaining. The first is the following weekend in Mexico.

It has been a hectic season at times, with Verstappen involved in high-profile incidents with Hamilton. The first was during the British Grand Prix where they touched down, sending Verstappen into a barrier at 180 mph

At the Italian Grand Prix, they crashed one inside the other, Verstappen’s car ending up on top of Hamilton’s.

“Yeah, I had to pull out of some scenarios with Max because otherwise we’re going to crash, and I’m just like, ‘I’m going to beat him another way,’” Hamilton told ESPN last month.

“I know he will probably learn from experience, as I will. I can’t expect things to change, so I’m just going to try and apply myself better to move forward, and that’s all I can control in my space.

After the accident, three-time champion Sir Jackie Stewart described Verstappen as the fastest man on the grid, but he is “still slightly in the puppy stage”.

This is Verstappen’s seventh season in Formula 1, and he has competed in 136 Grands Prix after becoming the youngest driver in the history of the sport in 2015 at 17 years and 166 days. He is now 24 years old.

“I still respect Sir Jackie’s opinion, but I think Max has shown great maturity this year,” said Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal. “Of course you are always evolving, you are always learning. I’m sure Sir Jackie made a few mistakes in his day.

“It’s the journey of life, you learn from every experience, and when you see the progress of a 17 year old, when he entered Formula 1, to the driver he is today, it ‘is quite impressive. “

Red Bull’s top competitor, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, said he was also impressed with Verstappen.

“Obviously Max doesn’t drive for Mercedes so I don’t know him very well, but his trajectory is impressive, not only in his speed but also in his approach to the weekends,” he said.

Verstappen started karting at the age of 4. Accompanied by his father Jos, a former Formula 1 driver, to guide him, he became world karting champion at the age of 15. Less than two years later, he was racing in Formula 1.

Verstappen naturally cites his father as his biggest inspiration.

“Without him I wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” Verstappen said. “What he did for me from a young age was very important so that I was as prepared as I am now.

“We had a lot of moments together in karting, of course, traveling all over Europe. He prepared everything for me with the karts, tuning my engine. It was a real job of father and son together to try to achieve the goal of being in Formula 1. ”

The goal was met in 2014 when, a month before his 17th birthday, it was announced that he would drive for Toro Rosso next year.

There were some tough times at the start. Verstappen crashed into a barrier during his first Monaco Grand Prix in 2015, and he was sometimes criticized by fellow drivers for his aggressive driving.

Charlie Whiting, the sport’s racing director at the time, met Verstappen in 2016 to warn him that he risked getting “a bad reputation” if he did not repress his aggressive behavior.

Verstappen’s talentHe has always eclipsed his teammates. Sergio Pérez is his fourth at Red Bull.

Pérez said “it’s not easy being Verstappen’s teammate because he’s one with the car.” Verstappen, he said, had “no obvious weaknesses”.

“He really delivers at a very high level,” Pérez said. “So far, Max has been the rider of the season. He made the fewest mistakes of anyone, putting things together to a very high standard.

“I was surprised, in a very positive way.”

The obvious progression would have seen Verstappen beat Hamilton and win the championship this year. Despite Verstappen’s remark that finishing second wouldn’t change his world, he said he “would be disappointed” if he didn’t win with the fastest car.

Verstappen said he had to “maximize everything every weekend” and “always have to be perfect” to beat Hamilton, even if the Red Bull car is the fastest.

“It’s all about the little details that can make a big difference,” said Verstappen. “This is the general goal of everyone, the pit stops, the setup work and the preparation before heading off for the weekend. “

If it all comes together, then he will finally be a Formula 1 champion.

“It was a dream when I was little with my father, to come to Formula 1 first and then try to fight for a title,” said Verstappen.

“Of course it would mean a lot if we could win it.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Max Verstappen, the 'What, am I worried?' The Formula 1 guy
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