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Max Verstappen Q&A: ‘No radio for me anymore!’

27 Oct 2016

Speaking to the media in Mexico on Thursday (somewhat distractingly in face make-up commemorating the country’s Day of the Dead holiday), Red Bull’s Max Verstappen reflected on his unscheduled pit visit in last Sunday’s Austin race, discussed his prospects for this weekend’s Grand Prix, and explained why he may well keep his radio chatter to a minimum…

Q: Max, everyone has been asking how your pit-stop misunderstanding was possible in Austin last weekend?

Max Verstappen: Ha, you always have a bit of coded messages, of course, and to be honest in the last couple of days I was thinking a lot about what happened. And probably this is what I came up with: when you are driving in the car for an hour you get a bit into the comfort zone - a bit like autopilot - and I saw Daniel (Ricciardo) pit the lap before, so I thought when we are so close together in the race that I pit the next lap for my last stint. And then it went wrong - maybe from thinking too much!

Q: So you misunderstood the push call for a pit call?

MV: A bit, yes. But at the end of the day it shouldn’t make a difference.

Q: So you expected a pit call and instead received a push call?

MV: Kind of. It happened - and will not happen again.

Q: When you thought that you should pit, how much longer do you think you could have lasted on those tyres?

MV: Two more laps.

Q: Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko was a bit furious. Did you have a conversation with him afterwards?

MV: Sure. We always talk after the race.

Q: But probably this time it was not as pleasant as on many other occasions…

MV: Well, you sometimes have these moments. I had these kind of conversations also many times with my dad.

Q: Do you still have to work on getting the right balance between when to be aggressive and when not. Is that part of the F1 learning curve?

MV: To be honest, I don’t know. So far it has all gone pretty well. But of course you always learn. But when I look back at the season I would say that I have been pretty consistent.

Q: There was a conversation with your race engineer where he told you to slow down a bit to look after your tyres and you answered ‘I am not here to race for P4’. Was it a tyre situation, or was it because you were stuck behind Nico (Rosberg)?

MV: Whatever happens in the future I will put my radio button out. No radio for me anymore! As a driver you want to go forward - of course. Actually I want to win.

Q: So was it an unnecessary message from the team?

MV: No, because they always try to help you in the race. We always try to improve and try to do a better job here.

Q: But probably with less conversation?

MV: Every time I push my radio button it is broadcast. It might sound a bit arrogant when I say that I am not here to finish fourth, but it is exactly what comes to my mind: I am not here finishing fourth. And that has nothing to do with arrogance - and sure not being arrogant with the team.

Q: So how will the team radio be for you in the future?

MV: I think I will reduce it to simple okay, yes and no. No long sentences anymore for me - then I should be on the safe side! (Laughs)

Q: Was there any warning of the car failure in Austin?

MV: When I was upshifting it happened. It was the gearbox and the team is still investigating what happened. If it breaks it damages a lot.

Q: So, happy with how you are doing?

MV: Pretty much, yes.

Q: What do you expect here in Mexico?

MV: Well it should be okay, even if the long straight is not our kind of tea. Probably the high altitude should help us a bit.

Q: The altitude will put a lot more pressure on the brakes…

MV: Yes, quite a number of teams got caught out last year. But my guess is that they will all be prepared better this time. But I think we all will be again pretty much on the limit with brakes - actually with everything!