Verstappen says Drive to Survive paints “wrong picture” of Norris and other drivers

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says Lando Norris was made to look “a bit of a dick” in the latest season of the Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive.

The world champion has refused to participate in the hugely popular series following its first season, filmed over the course of the 2018 and broadcast the year after.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said last week he will approach drivers like Verstappen who do not wish to co-operate with the show and try and address their concerns around participating. Verstappen said he has not yet spoken to Domenicali about the programme.

Asked by RaceFans if he would be willing to discuss his involvement in the show, Verstappen said he would be “happy to talk” with the F1 boss.

“Stefano’s a great guy, you can talk to him about anything,” said Verstappen. “I watched a few episodes of the last one and I was surprised that I suddenly found myself talking in it. It’s probably stuff from 2018 or something that they’ve picked up and used again about fighting or what I like to do. That already of course was not correct. I could hear it in my voice, it was a bit different.”

Verstappen pointed to the example of an episode of the most recent series released earlier this month focusing around McLaren drivers, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. He objected to how Norris was depicted in the episode.

“For me personally, I didn’t like – and it’s not even about me, it’s about Lando and Daniel, who I think are two great guys, they’re really nice first of all,” Verstappen explained.

“They made it look like Lando was a bit of a dick, which he isn’t. At all. And again, I know Lando and I think many people know Lando, he’s a funny guy – great guy. He has a great character and I think actually, when you look at that episode, you really think ‘who is this guy? What the hell is going on?’.

“I think when you are new to the sport, you’ve never seen a racing car or a Formula 1 car in general, they don’t like him. Why should that be? Because he is a great guy. You just immediately get a wrong picture of a person and that’s exactly what I think happened to me in the beginning. I’m someone who, when you ruin it from the start, you don’t fix it. That’s it. You ruined it. So that’s it, that’s my stance and that’s all I’ll go for it.”

Norris himself had previously expressed concerns over how he had been portrayed in the episode of the most recent series.

“Episode two is the first proper introduction to Daniel, myself and us and McLaren,” Norris explained. “I think it’s good, it gives you good insight. I think for my side it looks good, maybe not so much from the other side.

“There are obviously some comments and things here and there which are maybe out of place which, when you’re the person that it’s about, you maybe don’t agree with it so much, because it can make you look like you said something in a time and place which is definitely not correct.”

Verstappen hopes the show will evolve into a more factual depiction of the sport in future seasons. “I’m sure we’ll talk about it with Stefano, but at the moment I’m not really interested to take part in it,” he said.

“I saw the benefit initially, of course – you get more popularity – but for me, now, I think you reach a stage where it’s a bit more like ‘keeping up with the Formula 1 world’ – if you know my reference – and I think it shouldn’t be like that.

“It’s better just to make a season review by Formula 1 itself, I think that’s way nicer to look at. But that’s my opinion – nobody needs to share the opinion. I just don’t like to be a part of it.”

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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26 comments on “Verstappen says Drive to Survive paints “wrong picture” of Norris and other drivers”

  1. True.

  2. Noframingplease (@)
    25th March 2022, 14:00

    Looks like Netflix hunted some journalist from the british F1 media for DTS. ‘If it ain’t spicy, make it look like a soap where everyone has a double agenda’

    1. Yep, most recent Davidson is creating a battle between lec and ver based on the Austria result.
      If there is no news you can always create it, sky rule.

  3. Fully agree with Max about how it should be going forward. They won’t do it, but I’d love to see a multi episode review of the season. Done chronologically with maybe a couple of grand prix per episodes and added behind the scenes footage and radio transmissions that help narrate the story as the season develops.

  4. He’s right. A lot of my friends got into F1 after watching the first season of Drive to Survive and HATED Perez. I didn’t understand why, he’s not a character that you’d inmediately hate for whatever reason. But after watching DTS myself, I found out why: they despicted him as “the enemy” against good guy Ocon… like he was the rich kid with all the benefits and was being a pushover over Ocon, who was a humble guy, the new guy with lots of potential.

    It took me a while to try to convince them that Perez is very good and deserves where he is. They finally saw the light (maybe) when he won at Sakhir and got hired by RBR…

  5. I’m sure Netflix will use verstappens complaints about them in a forthcoming episode to show that he is a bitter complainer or whatever. You can’t win. I’m surprised that domenicali has taken it upon himself to convince people to participate so they can misrepresented for entertainment.

    It’s also a reminder that even though we think we know who is “likable” and wear their hats or whatever we don’t really know any of these people. And what we think we know is based on some snippets filtered by media trying to sell a story. Even when they sit for a long form interview it’s edited and it’s also just what they want to tell the public anyway.

    1. I agree DTS places too many events and quotes just far enough out of context to create drama and engage in pointless revisionist history (why redo commentary – get the rights and use the actual words said at the time). I couldn’t face watching this year’s release until I’d prepared myself for that expected pain.
      However I think the lad doth protest too much – I thought they got him and his boss about right.

  6. I couldn’t agree more with max. DTS is an exploitative tabloid-style show with more interest in conveying false narratives to increase viewers rather than have a useful documentary purpose. It represents all that is wrong with television and Netflix itself at the moment.

    1. @ryanoceros For sure, but to take it a bit further it is about what is wrong with people too. As in, people have been soaking up this kind of tabloid stuff for decades. It is why there is such a thing as paparazzi. And social media ‘influencers’ in many cases create a false narrative on what their reality is too, for the sake of more likes and hits and therefore earning power etc, but a certain percentage of the population eats that stuff up and takes it as gospel.

  7. The Dolphins
    25th March 2022, 15:00

    For someone who calls it fake and doesn’t want to participate why does he watch and comment on it? If he’s asked just reply, “I don’t know, I don’t watch that.” Even better use the question as an opportunity to plug your own show :D

    1. Pretty sure he watched enough to confirm that what he is talking about going back to last year still makes sense with the new season of shows, so he can speak intelligently on the subject as he knows he is going to be asked. I thought it was generous and classy of Max to defend LN and DR and want to be real about things. Nothing wrong with Max acknowledging DTS has it’s place, just as KUWTK does, but it’s not his cup of tea, and he has watched enough to form an educated opinion on that, not based on assumptions.

      1. The Dolphins
        25th March 2022, 17:26

        I’m not buying what you’re selling Robbie, Max got the question about Stefano talking to him and was unprompted with his other comments. He comes across as not liking the show and it’s not his cup of tea or whatever but he still watches it? Standing up for Lando or Daniel can also be viewed as a jab at the show.

        1. Max is good friends with Daniel and Lando. That’s known. In fact Daniel and Max’s relationship improved after he left Red Bull. That’s all on record.

          Max was simply standing up for his mates.

    2. What a pathetic way to view this sport.

      1. The Dolphins
        25th March 2022, 17:20

        What are you talking about? In no way did I reference the sport at all.

        1. Sounds like you should be a writer for DTS.

    3. Then he would talk from prejudice. How can you comment if you haven’t seen it?

  8. Goodness! Norris totally does come across like that sometimes completely outside of what you see on Drive to Survive..

    1. The Dolphins
      25th March 2022, 17:17

      He does, if you watch his Twitch streams you’ll see, but I still think he’s a genuinely nice guy, just doesn’t take shit from people.

    2. The Dolphins
      25th March 2022, 17:31

      My comment seems to have been removed.. regardless Lando does come across that, if you watch his streams you’ll see, he is a nice guy though he just will stand up for himself

  9. just shooting a jab at netflix while defending his personal friend, no big deal.

    This doc would be better if it was some sort of soap opera with fictional characters.

    To watch it knowing they make up like 70% of the stuff is really unpleasant. A waste of time.

  10. I haven’t had a television in the house for well over 15 years and it sounds like DTS is one of the newer reasons why.

    All I was being offered was low IQ fodder like soap operas and reality shows with heavily biased news/docudramas and third rate movies.
    All of which were regularly broken into by adverts apparently designed to appeal to drooling idiots who want to like whatever they are told everyone else likes.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist but by crikey the television media these days does seem to be calculated to keep the average person below average.

  11. I have mixed feelings about DTS. It did get me back into following F1 more closely. I don’t have time to watch races, but between written articles and YouTube clips I can keep up. DTS is sort of a guilty pleasure to prepare for the next season. It is not meant to be an objective piece of journalism. Just have fun with it.

  12. Verstappen is right, DTS is a poorly written soap oprah giving a misleading view of F1 and its participants.

  13. What Max is really saying is “No matter what I say it do, I don’t like to look bad.” Well, that’s too damn bad. If you want people to like you or think well of you, then try being nicer to people.

Comments are closed.