Q: You seem to have taken to F1 racing really easily, but what has been the hardest thing to adjust to?
Max Verstappen: Just learning the car every race weekend. I don’t have a lot of experience of the tracks outside of Europe, so that’s also a big thing. The team helps you a lot. It’s just gaining experience - learning every phase of qualifying for example: how to get the maximum out of the tyres, how to set up the car from Q1 to Q2 to Q3.
Q: When you came into F1 racing many critics said you were too young. How do you feel now in terms of pressure and expectation?
MV: For me I don’t feel less or more pressure. To be honest I never really felt a lot of pressure, also at the start of the year. The first two races you take it a bit easier with overtaking - you want to finish races to get experience. When you get more confidence in the car you can do braver overtakes, and I think that’s getting better and better all the time.
Q: Does your father (106-race veteran Jos Verstappen) still give you lots of advice?
MV: He already gave me a lot of advice since I was very young. He’s here to give me some tips, and he’s always there to tell me ‘it’s a good day, but keep improving, keep working with the team.’ He knows how it works. He’s always there to stimulate me.
Q: You are now well into your maiden season. Do you still find F1 racing as exciting?
MV: Of course! This is where I always wanted to be.
Q: We ask because, as you are probably aware, there has been a lot of talk about improving F1 racing. As a young driver who has only recently come into the sport, do you feel it needs improving?
MV: I think it’s a bit the sound that needs improvement, and maybe a little more downforce.
Q: Why do you think the engine noise needs to be higher?
MV: Normally if you speak to people and say ‘F1’, it’s noise [that they mention]. Now we have F1 but with no noise. I think it’s just part of F1 - we should make the most noise of all cars, not GP2 cars.
Q: You seem to have a very good car this season, which may not have been expected…
MV: The car is very good, very enjoyable to drive. We are missing straight-line speed, but that’s how it is and we try to make the best of it.
Q: What do you think about the changes to the start procedure for Belgium? In terms of hearing less on team radio, would that be a concern for you?
MV: No not at all, it’s the same for everyone. You just have to deal with the rules. For me it’s okay.
Q: Speaking of starts, when you’re sitting on the grid waiting for the lights to go out, do you have a plan about what you’re going to do?
MV: No it’s always different, so you don’t really have a plan. I watch races from previous years, just to have an idea of where to go if this happens. In general you just hope to make a good start and from there on just anticipate what’s happening in front of you.
Q: How easy is it, the start procedure?
MV: It’s not easy at all - you have to find the right revs, you have to find the right pedal position and then you need to have a good reaction. Then after that you have to control the wheel spin, so it’s not that easy.
Q: When you entered F1 racing you didn’t have a road going driving license…
MV: I still don’t...
Q: …so what are your plans in that direction?
MV: When I turn 18 I will take my test. I have my theoretical exam, but I have to wait until I turn 18 to then do my practical. Will I do ok? I don’t know. Maybe I will be a bit too fast on the roads!
Q: And what about school (it’s a legal requirement to stay in school until 18 in the Netherlands)?
MV: That’s a bit of a difficult story. This was basically my last school year, but I think the opportunity you get to do F1 is only once, so you can always finish school later. Hopefully I never have to go back - I hated school!
Check back with Formula1.com later this week for an exclusive feature examining how Verstappen and his fellow 2015 rookies have performed in the first half of the season.