At the FIA press conference in Sochi, Max Verstappen was asked about his impressions of the Tuscany Grand Prix, his attitude to the idea of qualifying races with a reverse start and about the expectations of the Russian weekend.
Q: Apparently, the Grand Prix of Tuscany in Mugello was a race of missed opportunities for you?
Max Verstappen: I’d rather call it “bad trip” – I think that’s what the movies call a heavy hangover, right? In general, this journey was difficult. However, I still liked the food, and in this sense the trip was not at all so bad.
Question: What about the results?
Max Verstappen: But I drove very few laps …
Question: Did you manage to appreciate the organic character of this fast track?
Max Verstappen: Yes, that’s okay with that in Mugello! It’s a pity, of course, because I would like to perform normally in that race. But after the start I did not go beyond two turns after the start, and there is nothing good in that.
Q: Yes, unfortunately you are out of luck, but how do you usually proceed to leave such troubles in the past?
Max Verstappen: To be honest, I just went home, trying not to think too much about the races, spent some time with friends – in general, a week rested after a tough series of three Grand Prix. Now I have quite a fighting spirit, I am ready to get down to business again, but the most important thing is to figure out the causes of the problems.
We had three retirements in nine races, this is bad, and now we have to try so that this does not happen again.
Question: In your opinion, did you manage to understand what the problems are connected with?
Max Verstappen: Yes, the engineers explained a lot to me, so I hope that this will not happen anymore, but for now we can only speculate on this topic, because first you need to check everything on the track.
Q: Since Lewis Hamilton has not yet renewed his contract with Mercedes, Eddie Jordan recently suggested that he should go to Red Bull Racing. Would you be interested in such a development of events?
Max Verstappen: The only thing that interests me is winning the championship.
Q: What about Lewis?
Max Verstappen: Why does he need it? He also wants to win championships, like me. Of course, for this you need to be in the right team, and now he is playing for just such a team that will win the championship. In general, let’s see how things go.
Question this weekend Lewis can catch up with Michael Schumacher in the number of victories. Can you comment on this?
Max Verstappen: Yes, winning so many victories and winning so many titles is an impressive achievement.
Q: Everything goes to the fact that Lewis will override that long-standing achievement of Michael: are you happy that you are competing with a racer who will go down in Formula 1 history? Or are you upset that the car doesn’t let you get ahead of him?
Max Verstappen: I don’t really think about that. I’m just busy with my own business, trying to win races and championships, and I don’t really care who is claiming the title there, and how many victories these drivers have. I cannot influence this in any way, I can only control myself. Therefore, I try to work with the team as efficiently as possible in order to prevent rivals from winning.
Q: You know that Ross Brown is going to hold Saturday’s qualifying races with a reverse starting order from next year. Do you think this is a good idea or not?
Max Verstappen: I do not like this. This is an artificial measure aimed at increasing entertainment, which contradicts the basic principles of Formula 1. The fastest cars must start from the front rows, everyone is trying to achieve the highest possible speeds, and such qualifying races with a reverse start order are nothing more than an attempt to increase the entertainment.
At the end of the race, fast cars will still be ahead, but just such undertakings go against the foundations of Formula 1, because the main thing in it is pure speed, this is what everyone is working on. I want your team to be the fastest, you strive to start from the first row. So I don’t like all this.
Question: You said that the weekend in Sochi will not be easy – why do you think so? What results can you expect on this track?
Max Verstappen: In Sochi we have never been competitive, so I don’t expect any miracles. Of course, there are long straight lines and many 90-degree turns, and very short ones, and it is difficult to play something in them. Probably the guys who are slower than us on this track will get closer to us than in Mugello. Let’s see how competitive we will be, but our task is to try to rise to the podium.