April 17, 2023 | News | No Comments
Max Verstappen’s ruthless approach to racing coupled with his hunger for success set the Dutchman apart from his rivals in Formula 1, according to F1 Nation podcast host Tom Clarkson and guest Damon Hill.
After running away with his second world title in the second part of 2022, Verstappen upheld his momentum at the start of this season, winning two of the first three races so far and making the most of the remarkable qualities of Red Bull’s RB19 machine.
With his team in a league of its own, Verstappen looks set to be facing but a single rival this year – his teammate Sergio Perez.
Asked by a listener on the podcast what singular qualities stand out in Verstappen, Clarkson and Hill shared their views on the two-time world champion’s characteristics.
“Well, obviously he’s bloody quick, right? That is a given,” noted Clarkson. “But I have never met a racing driver who is so hungry for success as Max Verstappen.”
Hill acknowledged that Verstappen’s insatiable voracity for success was an important part of the Red Bull driver’s endowment, and one similar to qualities shared by F1 legends Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
But the 1996 world champion added another prominent trait.
“I think that’s an important component isn’t it, the hunger for success,” said Hill. “In other words, what we call competitiveness or desire, a burning desire to win.
“That’s a mindset [that], I think, is probably key. Similar to Senna, similar to Schumacher, similar to many of the guys who’ve won in our sport or win in any sport.
Read also: Jos Verstappen: ‘I was hard on Max but never abused him’
“But there’s kind of ruthlessness to it as well. “I think most people find it difficult to relate to that, because in normal life that is regarded as being selfish and it’s regarded as being unattractive.
“But then it’s a totally appropriate mindset for competing in a sport where the objective is to win. The objective is not to do well, it’s not to play nicely – it’s to win. That is what he has.
“And where did he get that from? I’m sure it’s [from] his mother who’s also competitive and a very successful karting lady. But Jos, who raced in Formula 1- his dad, has made sure that that Max, as he was growing up, was left in no uncertain terms [and] aware that this is not worth doing it just for a bit of fun.
“If you’re going to go to Formula 1, you have to want to win, or have to win.”
Clarkson added that Verstappen “doesn’t just want to win, he wants to destroy people around him, his closest competitors”.
“A classic case was Saudi,” he added. “He started the race 15th, he drove a brilliant grand prix to finish second and yet he was really disappointed after the race and came out with the line, ‘I’m not here to finish second’.
“So many other people would have thought that’s a great weekend.
“Look at Perez last weekend in Melbourne. He starts in the pit lane, he comes through to fifth and he was really happy.
“I can’t imagine Max Verstappen being happy with fifth, even from a pit lane start.
“His mentality is unique. Yes, Lewis Hamilton is hugely competitive, of course he is – ditto Charles Leclerc – but there’s a ruthlessness about Max that I don’t see in the other guys.
“Just a serial winner. For as long as that Red Bull is competitive, Max is just going to keep winning. He’s one of those guys.”
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