In an exclusive interview with motorsport website racingnews365.com, Max Verstappen shared his delight as to how competitive he has found his RB16B to be. Verstappen was not overly optimistic about 2021 prior to winter testing but has welcomed the opportunity to not only compete for race victories – but also the World Championship title.
Formula One access is very different today compared to 30 years ago. The mystique of drivers has been somewhat erased by the fact that the majority now actively post on social media – even The Iceman himself, Kimi Räikkönen.
In Ayrton Senna’s day, an interview with the legend of the pinnacle of motorsport was few and far between and all the more special when it occurred. However, in the modern era of F1 and with such a high demand for comments and opinions to be shared, one cannot go for long without a headline announcing yet another revelation. So is the case today, following the publication on racingnews365.com, of the comments of the 2021 Drivers’ Championship challenger Max Verstappen.
In the interview, Max Verstappen shares his delight at the position he finds himself in even though a mere few months ago it was wholly unexpected.
"I always try to be realistic in terms of expectations. We have changed many things about the car which we knew were not optimal last year. However, we could not make these changes during the season…I think we made a good step forward because of this."
Max Verstappen is always a good candidate for providing headlines seeing how he tends to be harsh on himself by expecting a lot from his performance and that of his team. So, which areas in particular did the Red Bull Racing talismanic driver feel have seen the most progress?
"The balance of the car is better, but we have more power during the races. Actually, the car has improved in all areas…There are several people working on the set-up of the car, even before you go to a race weekend, but also during the weekend itself. A lot of things are then also tested in Red Bull's simulator…The final decision lies with me and my engineer."
By having such a commanding presence in the team at such a young age should be no shock to see. After all, at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, when he was aged 17 years, 166 days, Max Verstappen became the youngest driver to compete in Formula One. However, what is the idol of the Orange Army most proud of from his time in F1 so far?
"My very first victory [Spain 2016] of course remains very special. Especially because you never know if you are ever going to win a race when you get to Formula 1. Obviously that was always the goal, but then you have to get the chance to do it. That moment, that was very special."
It seems timely that Max Verstappen chose to recall his triumph in Spain, seeing how this weekend will see the Dutchman compete in his 100th Grand Prix for Red Bull Racing – in Spain.
Max Verstappen did not expect to be in the position of battling for the 2021 F1 Divers’ Championship. Nevertheless, you can be certain that he shall endeavour to make the most of this opportunity so that Sir Lewis Hamilton does not have a smooth run to his 8th F1 Drivers’ title after all. For the neutral fan, the 2021 F1 season is a welcome relief from the predictability of past title battles. Now, it is down to Max Verstappen and his Red Bull Racing team to ensure that remains the case throughout the season.