Max Verstappen has shut out all talk of him securing his first World drivers championship this weekend, with the current championship leader preferring to concrete on taking victory at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The Dutchman who leads the championship by eight points going into the season's final two races can wrap up this year’s drivers championship in Jeddah if he wins the race or finishes second and championship rival Lewis Hamilton finishes sixth or lower.
However, in spite of this being the first weekend where he could wrap up his maiden World championship, Verstappen remains focused on the task at hand when he spoke during the press conference today.
"Like I've done the whole season, there's no change in that; it’s a new track, so, first of all, we need to learn the track and see how to tackle it in FP1. For the rest, I just focus on the weekend to try and be as competitive as I can be."
"We're very motivated, and a track like this creates different and new opportunities for everyone, not only us; hopefully, it's going to be an exciting weekend. I hope that we're going to be competitive, but it's a bit too early to say at the moment. On the simulator, it's a very, very fast track. [I'm] looking forward to seeing it in real life."
Despite fears that it wouldn’t be ready in time for Formula 1’s first scheduled visit to the country on December 5th, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is set to be one of the fastest and most challenging street circuits that the sport has ever visited, with 27 corners and an estimated average speed in excess of 160mph, testing both the skill of the driver and the reliability of the car.
With both Mercedes and Honda bringing upgraded power units for this weekend’s race, the fight between Red Bull and Mercedes will be closely fought, with Verstappen proclaiming to Sky Sports F1 that his team is very motivated for the challenge ahead.
“We don’t really know; it’s a new track, we don’t know the grip levels, a lot of things can happen on the street circuit anyway, so yeah, we just have to try to put a good car on the track, and of course you need to get comfortable while driving as well because the track layout is very quick and theirs, not a lot of room for error so we don’t really know what our competitors are going to do but just looking at it from our side we always try to do the best we can.”
“We are in the lead of the championship, and we’re going to fight to the end, and everyone is very motivated for that.”