2021 has been an eventful season with an exciting battle for world champion between Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Currently, the Dutch driver is just two points behind the Brit with just seven races left in the calendar.
Verstappen’s fight against Hamilton has had various highlights and not so great points – including big clashes between the two at Silverstone and Monza and races where the Red Bull driver has lost points due to bad luck (Baku and Budapest).
But despite the low points of the battle, in the press event before this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix Verstappen says he and Red Bull are “very relaxed, but also very focused” as there is “nothing you can force or you have to stress about because we always want to do the best we can anyway.”
He was asked about his way of handling pressures and expectations as one of the drivers involved in the championship fight and how he stays relaxed, to which he answered:
“I always do my best and I know that the team is also doing the best they can.
“And if that’s going to be first at the end of the year – 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’d still have had a great season.
“And at the end of the day it’s not really going to change my life.
“I mean, I enjoy what I’m doing, and I think that’s also very important. For me, there is not much to worry about really.”
The 24-year-old also added that due to the new engine he had fitted ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, he now has “quite a strong package”.
“We just keep on developing, keep on pushing, keep on trying to have a better balance in the car,” he added.
“Because that is of course never perfect. And yeah, we’ll try to of course have that here [in Turkey].
“But, at this track, there are a lot of unknowns at the moment – just in terms of grip level already [with the Istanbul Park surface being water blasted ahead of the upcoming race to make it rougher to improve grip after the new asphalt laid in 2020 was extremely slippery].
“We first have to deal with that.”
Even though he had a boost from a fresh engine in Sochi, which saw him end up on P2, Verstappen still thinks that the races left will be tough in the fight against the seven-time World Champion.
"Because I don’t really know where it’s going to be. Are we in front? Are we just behind?
“I think some tracks will probably be a bit better for us, or at least on paper, and probably some will be a bit better for them.
“So, hopefully it will just continue like it has been for the last few races. It’s very close and we can have a good battle.”
It seems we will have to wait and see an exciting few races before the world champion title is defined.