Before the start of the racing weekend in Bahrain, Max Verstappen commented on some of the results of the Turkish Grand Prix, spoke about the mood before the 15th stage of the season, and also stressed that for him there is not much difference whether he ends the season in third place or in second.
Q: Let’s start by going back to the events of the Turkish Grand Prix: it was a difficult race …
Max Verstappen: Yes, everything did not work out very well there, but it happens sometimes, you know …
Q: What lessons can you and the team learn from this weekend experience?
Max Verstappen: I went to Turkey with high expectations, so it’s a pity that it happened, although in fact I liked this country. As for the level of grip on a track with such a surface, it was just a disaster.
If we talk about the race, about what she could teach … At each Grand Prix you can learn something, but it was one of those days when it seemed that everything was going wrong. At first my car turned around, bald spots formed on the rubber; in addition, there was only one trajectory on the track that could be driven. Therefore, there was no real opportunity to fight and overtake.
Then the track did not dry out in any way, and we could not switch to slicks. In general, to be honest, it was an unpleasant day, and, of course, not the result we expected. But sometimes it goes like this. However, before that we achieved good results many times, and everything went fine.
But sometimes you even need a weekend when something doesn’t work out … However, on Friday and early Saturday things were going well, but sometimes it happens that on Sunday you can’t achieve what you want, and for many reasons.
Q: How confident were you in your abilities when you sat behind the wheel of a car waiting for the start of the Turkish race?
Max Verstappen: I am always confident in myself, no matter what position I start from – from 1st, 2nd or from 3rd. I don’t want to talk about it much, but I don’t need any special confidence.
Q: Moving on to the upcoming weekend: in Bahrain, you have never climbed the podium – is there any hope that you can do it for the first time?
Max Verstappen: It would be great! Actually, I’m glad to come back anyway, because the weather here is great. I hope this weekend will be successful.
Q: Of course you have heard about the death of Diego Maradona. He became a football star at a young age, he had to endure serious pressure, because everyone literally tore him apart. Perhaps your situation in this regard is not so difficult, but how do you cope with such pressure, because you are a very young rider, but have already achieved widespread fame?
Max Verstappen: Most importantly, you need to be surrounded by the right people who should protect you from such things. Of course, this was a different generation, and we are talking about different sports. Also, I live in Monaco, where I don’t have many fans. In any case, everything that happens around me is taken care of by my manager, my father, and also a lot of other people.
Thanks to this, this kind of pressure is not felt so much. On the other hand, I love the business I do and, to be honest, I just live my life. In addition, the plus of the situation with the pandemic is that no one wants to come close and touch you! But seriously, there should be people around you who support you.
Question: Do you and your partner make the same demands on the car in an effort to achieve better results?
Max Verstappen: Yes, we mostly lack traction and would like more power. Riders never have enough grip or power!
Q: After the Turkish Grand Prix, you said that perhaps this was your last chance to fight for victory. Did you mean any peculiarities of the Istanbul track and the conditions in which the race took place, or rather it was about the characteristics of the tracks in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, which are better suited to Mercedes cars?
Max Verstappen: I don’t remember saying that, to be honest. In fact, there are always chances, although historically it so happened that in Bahrain, we never had a real opportunity to fight for victory. But we will soon find out how it will be this time.
Q: A year ago, the Red Bull Racing team won their third victory with Honda engines, and then it seemed that in 2020 you would be a real contender for the title. When did you finally realize that these hopes were not destined to come true? And why did it happen?
Max Verstappen: (after a pause) After the first race. Even then it became quite clear that we were too far behind. As for the second question, I don’t know how to answer it. If we knew why we are lagging behind, we would have done something for a long time. There is no doubt that everyone on the team is working very hard, although, of course, the rivals are also working very hard. It is clear that we are in the role of catch-up, but it is difficult to identify a specific reason for the lag.
Q: If at the beginning of the season someone told you that in the first 14 races you won only one victory, how would you react?
Max Verstappen: I don’t think I would react at all, because no one can make such predictions. There is no point in discussing such topics. I always say: wait and see. And if someone tries to predict something, it doesn’t mean anything at all.
Question: At one time, your father taught you a lot. But now that he is testing racing cars again, maybe it’s time for you to give him advice? Is Jos still fast?
Max Verstappen: I think yes! Although, of course, if you do not practice for a long time, the sensations dull, but now, when he gets behind the wheel more regularly, it is clear that every time he pilots better and better. But I get pleasure if I manage to share something with my father. We switched roles to some extent. At one time, when I did something wrong, he was very angry with me …
Question: Are you shouting at him now?
Max Verstappen: Yes, it happens sometimes! But we communicate in an amicable way and then laugh all the time. It happens that first he gets behind the wheel, and I take the passenger seat, and then we change places. It’s all fun! It’s great that we can do all this in a family way.
Question: Explain for those who do not know: what cars do you drive with your father?
Max Verstappen: Racing! (laughs)
Question: Yeah, I see, so you can’t talk about it. Then let’s move on to the next question: during the Turkish Grand Prix you had problems due to the settings of the front wing. In addition, the conditions on the track were difficult. But overall, did you have a feeling that the team managed to take a step forward in working with the machine that weekend?
Max Verstappen: It is always difficult to talk about this, since the conditions were specific, but we really had reasons for optimism, so I would like to start working in Bahrain as soon as possible, because we have more information about this route. I would like to check how the car performs here, but I believe that everything will be fine.
Question In the individual championship, you are 27 points behind Valtteri Bottas. How confident are you that you can catch up with him?
Max Verstappen: We’ll see. In fact, whether I finish the championship in second or third place does not play a special role. I just want to perform well. If this means that I will remain third, but will have a few good races at the end of the season, I will be pleased.