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Max Verstappen Q&A: Why should I change my style?

01 Sep 2016

Max Verstappen’s driving standards were the hot topic of conversation following last Sunday’s race in Belgium, thanks to the Red Bull star’s first-corner clash with the Ferraris, and his subsequent duels with Kimi Raikkonen and others. With his fellow drivers having questioned his tactics, it was no surprise that the assembled media were keen to get Verstappen’s response on Thursday, ahead of this weekend’s Italian round…

Q: Max, you have been the subject of a lot of talk and opinion with your moves on track at Spa. Would you do the same all over again?

Max Verstappen: To be honest, Spa for me is done. In general it was a great weekend. I enjoyed it a lot to see that the orange colour was so dominant there - that was amazing to see. Reflecting on the race: things like that happen. That’s how I see it. And now I am focusing on Monza and no thoughts of Spa any longer.

Q: Will you moderate your driving style in any way?

MV: Why should I? And I just said that I don’t like to stay in the past. What happened happened - and this is another race weekend where I will push as hard as ever. I do my thing - with my driving style as it always was.

Q: When you say ‘what happened happened’, what exactly did happen in your view?

MV: …better ask what didn’t happen! (Laughs) Yes, true, Turn 1 was unfortunate - and later I had some position fights again. There have been no penalties given, so there is no reason to change something.

Q: Were you surprised that the fight for position was a bit too intense for the ‘Iceman’ Kimi Raikkonen’s liking?

MV: First of all, I don’t think that it was too intense. And in the end here you always have comments from people. The same discussions would have come up if I had been behind him. For me it would be unimportant - but as I just said, people will always make comments.

Q: After the Grand Prix you mentioned that the two Ferrari drivers destroyed your race. But when looking at the images again, it suggests that Kimi was just as much a victim as you. He was getting squeezed just like you. So if there were somebody to take the blame then it would have been Sebastian Vettel…

MV: That is all talking about spilt milk. Sometimes these things happen in the race. And my guess is that we all learned from it.

Q: The stewards have talked to you. What did they say? Did they suggest changing your driving style?

MV: No. And all these talks are a bit foolish. You, of course, want to defend your position - and if somebody wants to attack that’s up to him. And just because somebody eventually says that you should change your driving style… that’s nonsense.

Q: But there are still people, including your team principal Christian Horner, who said that you have been slightly on the limit. Is your limit different to others’?

MV: Did he say this? For sure not to me!

Q: What then did he say to you?

MV: That I was a victim - especially in Turn 1. And after that there is not much to say about it.

Q: Have you learned anything from Spa?

MV: Why should I? And then we all can learn from Turn 1, but that is something between me, Sebastian and Kimi - and nobody else. Maybe we should have all given each other a bit more space, but in the end it was a bit of an unlucky situation. My guess is that Sebastian didn’t see what was on the inside of Kimi - and there you go.

Q: After the race Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said that your behaviour reminded him of a young Ayrton Senna or Lewis Hamilton…

MV: To be honest I haven’t read a lot of comments, but to be compared with these two is always welcome. But in the end I only focus on what I have to do and I’m not thinking about whom I can be compared with when doing something.

Q: Can it be that the first-corner incident at Spa was the result of your slow start? Had you started better you wouldn’t have been at that spot…

MV: I don’t think that my start was the initiator to that situation, because you are still on the inside. Yes, if you have a better start you probably are not in that situation - but I still believe it was not caused by my start.

Q: Have you tried to talk to Kimi?

MV: Yes I have tried to talk to him, but there is no time from his side as they are extremely busy here.

Q: What is your plan for Monza?

MV: To do my thing. I think it will be a great weekend again. In terms of how well the performance will be, I think it will be a bit harder this weekend with the long straights. So it will be all about getting a good balance - and then let’s see what happens. I very much believe that we still will have a good weekend.