After an eventful start to the season, Max Verstappen has scored his first victory this year at Spielberg. The Dutchman will try to repeat this success at the Hungaroring where he talked with ŚwiatWyścigów.pl’s Roksana Ćwik.
Max, congratulations on your recent victory at the Red Bull Ring. How does it feel to give Red Bull their first win in Austria?
I think it was needed, because we always went there and had bad feelings because with the long straights it’s just not our kind of track. Of course for us to win at our home grand prix was something very special.
Was there a lot of stress?
No, because it was a totally unexpected victory, which is a very nice feeling to be honest.
When you passed Kimi Räikkönen on the first lap, did you think it might be a move for the win?
No, I thought it was for the podium, to be honest. Then the Mercedes has their problems which we took advantage of and ran our own race from that point. Of course when you are leading for a long time you start to think about it but you just have to focus on yourself to do a good job.
Where would be your best chance to score another win this year?
I think Singapore would be a good chance, but we will try to have a win here as well.
With some rule changes and the change of the engine supplier next year, when do you start focusing on the next year’s car?
From January and February onwards. I think it’s more important now to finish the season and try to get the best out of it, then have a good holiday and after the holiday start training and focus on the season ahead.
Are you excited to drive with a Honda engine next year?
Yeah, it’s a new challenge and I think it will be positive for the team as every new available part will be on the car straightaway. I’m definitely looking forward.
Did you enjoy the triple-header?
I think three races in a row is a bit busy. Two in a row is okay, but three I think is a bit much.
After your Monaco accident you fell under a lot of criticism. Did it bring any pressure?
No, I just did my thing. I think I showed that in the racer after Monaco.
Did you ever consider other forms of motorsports, like rallycross?
No, I’m happy where I am. If I want to have some fun maybe when I’m 40 or 45 then I might have a look, but not in another 20 years at least.
How big of a step was to go from F3 straight to F1?
It was a big step. The car is much faster and heavier to drive, there is much more people involved. I took it step by step and luckily I had a good programme to get prepared for the team, that for sure helped a lot. I think you just grow into it. When you first go into the Formula 1 you are not really aware of everything that is going on but you learn through the year.
As a Red Bull driver, you take part in a lot of promotional activities before the races. Which one was your favourite?
I think the best one was the caravan race I did together with Daniel.
Do you know what’s coming next?
No, they keep it as a surprise for us, so let’s wait and see.
Having broken some records already and having such a big fanbase, do you consider yourself a role model?
It’s crazy to see that I’m 20 years old and already have such a big fanbase. It’s great and of course gives me extra motivation when I see them around. As to being a role model, it’s difficult to say. I just try to be myself and that’s a good lesson for everyone if they want to become a Formula 1 driver or whatever else they might want.
When you see such big group of fans at various tracks, does it feel like driving at home?
I wouldn’t say that, but to get that big support at a track is great to see.
Finally, do you know who will be your team-mate next year?
I think it will be Dan.