Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2021

“It’s not going to change my life” if I don’t win title this year – Verstappen

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen is adopting a relaxed attitude to his championship fight with Lewis Hamilton, saying it wouldn’t change things for him if he fails to win the title this year.

The Red Bull driver lost the lead in the points standings to his rival at the last round and arrived in Turkey two points behind Hamilton.

Verstappen said he’s putting no pressure on himself to seize his first opportunity to win the title.

“I always do my best and I know that the team is also doing the best they can,” he said. “If that’s going to be at the end of the year first, that’s of course an amazing achievement and that’s what we work for, right?

“But even if we would finish second, I think we still would have had a great season. And at the end of the day, it’s not really going to change my life.

“I enjoy what I’m doing and I think that’s also very important. So for me, there is not much to worry about, really.”

Mercedes and its drivers have swept all of the last seven world championship titles. But Verstappen says Red Bull is not distracted by the possibility of ending that run.

“You shouldn’t really stress it. I mean, I know that my team does the best they can, right? And they expect that for me and I always try to get the best out of that.

“We are fully committed, of course, to try and make this a success together. But you cannot force things, you just have to work well and work hard together and then we’ll find out at the end of the season where that will put us. Is that first, is that second, we don’t know.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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56 comments on ““It’s not going to change my life” if I don’t win title this year – Verstappen”

  1. Of course.

    1. Indeed. He CAN win it, and surely is enjoying being in that position. But it’s not as if Red Bull is far out the best team with the best car and everyone expects Max to bag that title. There will almost certainly be further opportunities down the line.

      1. Lets say:
        Baku doesn’t happen – thats 26 points
        Silverstone doesn’t happen- thats 26 points
        Hungary doesn’t happen – thats 26 points.
        All those things not his fault. They have the best car, they have the best driver

        1. The Baku incident was his and his crews fault
          The Silverstone incident, to some degree he was at fault

      2. They definitely have the best car.

      3. Merc definitely have the best car.
        In Monza they were 0.5s up the road for everyone else.

        1. RBR have the best car

        2. We don’t run 21 events at Monza. @trib4udi

          The overall view from the sport’s technical experts is that the Red Bull has been the quickest car over the course of the season. It’s easy to select a particular weekend to make a different case, but to do so would be misleading and pointless.

          1. As you can see, it’s not true, although that graphic isn’t fully representative, I think it’s not clear any more who’s been fastest overall.

  2. Adopting would imply it’s a concerted effort on Verstappen’s part.

    In reality it’s more like it’s not in his personality to fret about such things.

    1. Indeed, you try to improve the things you can control.
      And you don’t worry too much about the things you can’t control.
      Healthy mindset I would say.

      1. Threatening to headbutt journalists is not indicative of a healthy mindset. Chip off the old block that one.

      2. Right, indeed the best mindset to win the WC!

  3. Not the hyped up kind, calm waters run deep.

  4. So a racing driver tells us he really isn’t competitive?

    Like most successful drivers he would sell this granny for a title.

    1. Reading comprehension is an art.

  5. He is saying that cos he knows the only reasons he isn’t miles ahead are:
    A fluke tyre explosion
    Crashing at Silverstone
    Being taken out by bottas.

    He and everyone else knows that

    1. I would argue it’s been “balanced’ out by the Monza crash (prevented at least a 6 point swing) and the rain lottery at Sochi.

      He’s saying this to deflect. The full quotes still says he wants to win. But then again, we thought Massa was a sure fire championship contender for years in that Ferrari.

      1. RL Personally I never thought FM was a ‘sure fire championship contender,’ let alone for years in that Ferrari. As to ‘balanced’ out? 6 points at Monza and at Sochi he was likely going to score half-decent points there too, even starting from the back? No, there hasn’t been a balancing out yet.

      2. Indeed, how can you call that balance? 5 points luck swing at sochi and monza maybe even 3, I have an expected order of ricciardo, verstappen, hamilton without the pit stop bad luck, and the accident seems minor too unless hamilton won which is unlikely.

        1. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
          8th October 2021, 0:09

          let’s assess his claims…

          Azerbaijan = +10 swing to VER lost in terms of “lost points”
          UK = assuming it remained as it was at the start, +8 swing to VER, +18 net
          Hungary = going by grid position, it’s a 10 instead of 16 swing, so add 6, +24 net
          Belgium = points awarded for a non-race, Max scores 12.5 vs Lewis’ 7.5, +19 net
          Italy = weak race for RBR, plus poor stop for Max, I think Lewis was going to be 2nd at most, and Max would be stuck between Lando, so 6 more, +13 net
          Russia = before the rain, positions were 2nd Lewis and 7th Max. So instead of losing 9 points, it’s only 7 points. I would argue this rain-affected result has as much “luck” to do with Bottas having no grip and pinballing over two Red Bulls. So that’s 11 points still “lost” by Max to incidents.

  6. I actually believe him. He’s so confident in his abilities, it doesn’t cross his mind he might mess up. Of course when the pressure is on in the latter races that might change, but if nothing else you have to admire his supreme confidence – there is no a shred of self-doubt. Here we do see a difference with Hamilton, with Lewis being driven by having something to prove. Two amazing drivers with completely different characters. Fascinating.

    1. I agree. His level of self confidence is on par with the likes of Alonso and Senna IMO. And it’s clearly ingrained in him. It was on show when he started racing in F1 as a 16 year old and hasn’t changed one bit.

    2. You make it sound like Max is the 7 times champion and 100 time grand prix winner.

      If both drivers ended their careers today, I know whose resume would have nothing left to prove…

      1. RJo Conversely, does anyone actually think that Max on a 7 year run with a dominant car such as LH has enjoyed wouldn’t be able to achieve similar numbers? It’s not Max’s fault that he is just getting going in earnest with his career and LH is close to the end of his. Max will make his mark too. All the signs are there.

        1. Absolutely, verstappen seems clearly superior to hamilton lately and how inflated are hamilton’s numbers because of the car?

  7. To me it sounds like he’s trying take excessive pressure off from the the people working in the team.

  8. It sounds like a really sensible, grounded attitude, but it might change his life if he doesn’t win. Next year the cars are all different, Red Bull might or might not get it right, meanwhile Ferrari will be stronger, and George, Lando and Charles are coming to get him. It’s not impossible this year is his best chance in his entire career.

    1. But… If more drivers start winning races it will be harder for one driver to be far ahead… So more title contenders could mean the driver that makes the least mistakes and gets the overtakes done wins…

      1. Yes Max might be fine. But with a new formula normally the cars diverge, and if Max’s car is worse than one or more of the others then there are 3 or 4 drivers who can take advantage, so I just `feel it’s more of a comforting idea than a true statement, that it definitely won’t change his life.

    2. Indeed. You never know whether he will ever be in this position again. We’ve seen with Alonso how making wrong team choices ruin your chances. It could very well be now or never for Max. It could be Red Bull dominating the next 5 years. We don’t know.

      1. Yes Alonso @spafrancorchamps, perfect example. Kimi – how much difference did 2007 make to his life!

        1. Lol if only FA had the proverbial crystal ball in order to see what so many can now, with the perfection of hindsight.

    3. @zann It’s not impossible but I think highly unlikely. But I think the main point here is that while it is easy to say this year might be his best chance, that is only conjecture and hyperbole, and what is key here is that win or lose this year Max will not be sat there lending even one second of thought to the concept of never having the same chance again for his entire career.

      I don’t think it is a stretch to suggest what Max means is that he will live to fight another day, and approach next year and all of his future seasons in F1 with the same attitude. Do my best, try my hardest, work well with the team, see where it takes us, loving what we’re doing all along.

      As @spafrancorchamps says ‘we don’t know,’ so certainly Max is not dwelling on anything other than this season, and when it is done he will be dwelling on next year’s car, and I would suggest nothing beyond. For it is unknown. What he does have is utter confidence in himself being able to do his part on the team to his utmost. He can and will bet on himself all day long.

      1. Well just imagine Max’s reputation in 2035 @robbie if he’s never been WDC, but George, Lando and/or Charles have. That would not be the life he has in mind. Not that I disagree with his mindset as you describe it, I just don’t think he has a real basis for saying he’s quite that cool over whether he wins or not. I think it’s mind management. Fair enough of course, but we can apply that filter to it I think.

        1. @zann No I don’t sit and imagine such things. Mainly I consider Max better than the three drivers you cite, and we can only take it one season at a time. If by 2035 he has still not won a WDC it will have somehow been because he didn’t have the car, and not for lack of talent, but given what we have already seen in Max, the odds of him not moving to a better car (the best car) over a dozen or so years are slim. And in the new chapter I think having the best car may be a lesser necessity than it has been for decades.

          I don’t think he is saying he is quite cool whether he wins or not. I think he could be any number of things such as angry, frustrated, what have you, if he doesn’t win the WDC this year, but he is saying it won’t change his life. Of course he is human and will feel whatever emotions he’ll run into, particularly if he doesn’t win, but that doesn’t mean he is going to change his approach. I think all he is saying is life will go on and he will be back at it fighting for the WDC next year. By putting his all into it he can proceed with his head held high for having done his best and knowing the team has as well. There’s not much more he can do, so as I say, life will go on.

          1. Yes his life will go on @robbie, the question is whether it would be the same life being a WDC as not being a WDC. To me it’s self-evident that the difference is why they try so hard; why they’re frustrated, disappointed, proud, elated, satisfied… those things that fill out a life. The extra opportunities that come with being more famous. You can anticipate great success for him of course, and the life that goes with it, but that is another question.

  9. It makes sense you give it all you got and if you win its all perfect. If you lose at least you have done everything to achieve your goal. So far he didnt make any mistakes and I guess he is not the guy who will avoid risks to bring it home

  10. That’s a Senna level belief in his own abilities, great attitude IMHO

  11. Loyal British media likely questioning yet again if he’s buckling under the pressure, and what losing would feel like.

  12. Max has time on his side, so no need to win this one

  13. Max can say there’s no pressure on him, but there is. It’s on any sportsman or woman trying to win a championship, be it tennis, golf, skiing, or F1. The last 4 or 5 races this year will put him in a position that he’s never been in. And no one, not even Max, knows how he’ll handle it. Especially against someone who has done it successfully many times.

    1. @greenflag While that may be the case, his point is that he is not going to add pressure on himself. I’m sure he’s well aware of when he is feeling pressure and when he is not, and I’m sure he can envision a potential final Championship deciding race as being a pressure cooker, but that doesn’t mean he is one to sit there in a cold sweat about the prospects of it. I think the very fact that as you say Max may not even know how he’ll handle it, means he is not going to sit and dwell on the unknown.

      “Especially against someone who has done it successfully many times.” The fact is LH has won most of his WDCs with two or three races to go and has not had to feel the kind of pressure of which you are speaking. At least not the pressure when it is at it’s greatest in, for example, a final race decider. If Max is putting any thought into the concept you are suggesting, that LH has more experience at winning WDC’s, he would I think quickly remind himself of what he himself has said of LH…paraphrasing…he’s had little competition at Mercedes and against the grid for his wins. Until this year of course. There is a good chance that Max may put LH under pressure too, and we’ve already seen LH making more mistakes this season than any other several of his combined. I suspect in Max’s mind he is putting LH under more pressure than he has experienced in a long time. And Mercedes are the dynasty here, trying not to get toppled from their mountaintop. RBR are the underdogs in that sense, performing a Herculean feat just by finally being so competitive against the dynasty.

      Keeping in mind too, when Max was asked about pressure at the start of the season, once it was apparent how competitive his car would be, he said it is actually less pressure once you finally have the car to actually compete for wins and the Championship. That is what they all hope and dream for, and it’s such a huge ingredient, that now that Max has it, he just seems grateful for that first and foremost.

      Yeah, pressure? For sure. But pressure he can’t handle? It just doesn’t seem like that is going to be the case if it happens.

      1. Methinks you do protest too much. Let’s wait and see, shall we?

        1. @greenflag Lol, of course. One race at a time. As always.

      2. Jeez @robbie – you make it sound like Hamilton has simply turned up to win his seven and 100 races!

        Have some perspective will you?

        When Verstappen was in nappies he was winning and, yes losing, final race championships.

        He has been in dominant years and mercilessly tight none dominate years.

        Would it hurt too much to stop with the ‘seven years’ diatribe?

        He has not had seven years of dominance- his team yes but look at his team mates results.

        Honestly – it’s getting tiresome.

        He has enough of a canvas of work to at least acknowledge he is just about as good as it’s been without this constant qualifying statement. The constant put downs like Verstappen is the 100 race winner. He is nothing near yet. He may be but I actually doubt it.

        Max will no doubt have his time but if you think his performance this year, good as it’s been, would have bought about the records Hamilton has produced- well you were not watching very well.

        1. Verstappen is perfectly on course to get 100 wins, just needs a pretty good car all years. And his performance would’ve absolutely brought hamilton’s records given the same car, do you think he’d have lost to rosberg in 2016 with such a season? Apart from that I don’t see what hamilton achieved that verstappen couldn’t have given the same opportunity.

          1. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
            8th October 2021, 0:15

            That’s an asinine attitude to approach statistics, “given the same opportunity”. F1 isn’t on socialist foundations. Hamilton had opportunities that his peers didn’t, just as Vettel had a dominant car no one else (but Mark Webber) had from 2011-2013, Alonso from 2005-2006, Schumacher from 2001-2, 2004 and also in 1994-5.

            And the question “do you think he’d have lost to rosberg in 2016 with such a season?” is a moot point, because it’s a hypothetical that cannot be resolved unless one resorts to imaginative discourse.

          2. @explatore1

            But he has not achieved it has he?

            Further I absolutely do think he would have lost to Rosberg given a four race deficit in similar fashion. He has s been losing so far has he not?

        2. @drgraham What you are missing here is that I am speaking (typing) in the context of what Max would imho likely be thinking, since this is an article about Max saying his life would not change if he didn’t win this year, and greenflag has brought pressure into it. He implied LH has the experience and for Max how he handles the pressure will be an unknown for the last 4 or 5 races.

          All I’m saying is that it is unlikely, imho, that Max would feel any intimidation shall we say, going up against LH this season, including in the remaining races, for to me it just doesn’t seem like Max can’t handle pressure, and as well Max will have a certain perspective about LH’s career, as per things that he has said such as LH not having much real competition within his team and without. Max is already on nearly as many wins as LH had pre-domination car.

          I just would not be surprised if, while drivers are of course going to publicly acknowledge LH’s accomplishments and genuinely respect that, at the same time if they looked at his career he had won 21 races before he moved to Mercedes. In the first year there he won his 22nd. Once the hybrid era began he skyrocketed to winning 10 races in 2014, double the most he had won before in a season, which I believe was 2008. He didn’t just suddenly start learning how to win in 2014. I just think most drivers can respect what LH has done but also believe deep down that they themselves could have done similar in a similarly dominant car. I think that is likely how F1 drivers are wired.

          So it’s odd of you to claim Max’s performance this year would not have brought about the records akin to what LH has achieved. Why not? He’s driving better. But for some big bad luck he’d be quite ahead of LH. But it turns out Max isn’t enjoying the dominant car that LH has enjoyed. I would say there is nothing to suggest Max in a suddenly dominant car going back to 2014 would not be around the same region as LH is today in terms of wins and WDCs. But much less important than what I think is that Max thinks the same about himself.

          I agree with you Max will have his day, and that’s the point. He is of that level that he will have his day. Imho he will never have the dominant car for so long such as LH has enjoyed, because the new chapter of F1 is not going to be built for that, so I predict no driver will ever match or eclipse LH’s records, but I also believe that whatever WDCs Max achieves will be harder fought and won. And thus more rewarding for him.

          For the record I carry a similar attitude towards MS’s records and I think it likely most drivers would feel that had they also more advantages hand over fist over the rest of the grid as well as his teammate, they too would have achieved big numbers. Sure that’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Sometimes a driver is in the right place at the right time, and indeed as done enough to earn the seat, and away they go, but that doesn’t mean other drivers think they wouldn’t be able to take that ball and run with it as well.

          Bottom line in the context of this article and greenflag’s comment is that I don’t think Max thinks LH is anything he can’t handle. But of course he has been mindful all season and has implied it constantly, that LH/Mercedes are a force to be reckoned with and they don’t take any weekend for granted. They’re the underdog trying to topple the reigning dynasty. There is likely more pressure on LH in Max’s mind, imho.

          1. I understand your points @robbie but you seem keen to reduce LH impact on the sport during a similarly dominant period while also battling a WC team mate. His pre dominant wins were against Button during the RB dominant period not as now with a second slower wingman, equal car and let’s face it prior to this year, picking up 10 fairly lucky wins while running pretty much all of last year on his own.

            LH lost more wins than that in those years due to reliability and appalling Pit management

            Regardless they are both very talented one at the end of his career whom I frankly believe to be significantly more able to win races and championships at this point and has done so than the other, who has already shown a lack of the thinking that goes into a long season when you do not have an obvious advantage. Hence why I do not think Max could have achieved the same. His moves and racing while exciting are simply not geared to the long run, dominant car or not

            That is not to say he can’t mature further but his early years behaviour suggest a mindset that worries me on that score. He still feels he has to get someone back for the slightest issue and that is not the behaviour of a racer with 70+ Races behind him.

            Much depends on the cars, but at the moment – a battle equals a crash and that’s really not why LH is where he is. We want to see racing not ‘it’s my corner and crash’ at the first chance let alone hooning around the circuit block passing with dive bombs whenever you think someone is close. Silverstone is a point. Look at the first half of the lap. You saw someone desperate to get whatever at whatever risk while in a slower car you can see LH lining up the corners two ahead as he did in Bahrain in 2014. In a car with demonstrably worse tyres. That’s the racing we want to see. Not clipping front ends in an intimidating attempt and landing on the top of other cars. That’s just stupid.
            Further the ridiculous can do no wrong mindset of his team absolutely does not help. This started with Bacu and his Ricciardo move. They needed to clamp down right there but did not. They really should have stopped him in Spa against Raik!

            Anyway – a way to go and LH starting tenth keeps them out of each other’s hair.

          2. @drgraham I think you underestimate Max, and I would suggest that for every ‘intimidating attempt’ Max has made, particularly since he learned his hard lesson in Monaco 2018 and then got a lot more mature real fast, LH has done the same, particularly against Nico while they were teammates. To me all Max has been doing is the same type of hard racing LH has done. Force the other guy’s hand. That LH decided to get stubborn about that just shows that it has been effective. That Nico had decided to get stubborn about that against LH shows the same thing. Max has been doing the same thing LH has been applauded for doing, for showing his WDC level competitiveness and a take-no-prisoners attitude. But to you I think you still think Silverstone was either a racing incident or Max’s fault, so of course you are going to skew your thinking that Max still needs to mature. And hey, of course he will continue to develop just as LH has claimed to, even in recent years. In fact, LH was predominantly at fault, not Max, and if you can’t accept that well then your attitude towards Max makes sense.

            Lol they should have “stopped him in Spa against Raik!” In fact they did stop him and he hasn’t done that type of move since, and that is not the same type of move of which we are speaking this season. That ‘Verstappen rule’ wasn’t in fact anything new, and I remember MS being reprimanded for the same thing. You don’t move into or in front of a guy when they are already under braking, for once they are braking they are handcuffed to do much about a car suddenly in front of them. And Max only needed to learn that lesson once. That’s different than owning a corner, leaving space, and then squeezing the guy and forcing his hand to back off, go off, or make contact, which is exactly what Max does, and is exactly what LH has done many many times too, without penalty for both drivers. It’s a thing. A WDC level thing. And I don’t see how RBR have had a ‘can do no wrong mindset’ with Max that McLaren and Mercedes hasn’t had with LH.

            Yeah I have no doubt whatsoever that over a journey of having such a long run of dominant cars Max would have it well within himself to similarly grow and develop and win. Well, run away from the field much of the time, controlling the pace and not breaking a sweat;)

  14. I’m sure there must be pressure though, especially since next season is such an unknown, it’s not impossible Red Bull have made an error somewhere and another team runs away with it for a couple of years. Max is so close to getting a title in the bag and it could be stalled for years potentially depending on contracts with other drivers so even if there is a different team that has the best machine he might not be able to move as quick as he would like.

  15. Max just blinked.

    The red bull media coach must have been on holiday

  16. It wouldn’t change my life also. Typical Dutch, we tried, it didn’t work, where is the beer?

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