Max Verstappen is fired up ahead of the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship season, the Red Bull driver adamant that he can challenge Mercedes and make a serious bid for the 2017 title.
Asked by De Telegraaf is he felt ready to challenge for the title, the 19 year old replied, “Am I ready to win the championship? Absolutely. I have been ready since my first race with Toro Rosso.”
Verstappen stormed onto the Formula 1 scene at the start of 2015 and in just over a year established himself as one of the sport’s biggest superstars. He was promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull in May last year upon which he went on to win his first race with the team – the Spanish Grand Prix.
Verstappen admits, “If you are in the best car, racing is so much easier. If I had already had a good car, I know I would have scored victories for sure.”
“I’ve spent the past two seasons learning so much. From crashes to mistakes to wrong pitstops. But if you are in the best car, many of those problems go away and everything is a lot easier.”
Asked what he does when he is not racing, Verstappen revealed, “I am always racing or thinking about racing. I think about kart tracks, cars, simulators. Basically anything that can help me further my racing.”
One of the standout factors of the 2016 season was the amiable relationship between Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. The pair showing each other respect both on and off track.
Verstappen explained, “If you look at Daniel, you see a very cheerful person. He will never walk around with a grumpy face and he can make everyone laugh. I can do the same, I think.”
“For a team it is very important to have two such drivers who are not trying to outwit one another or create factions, but just be open and share all the information.”
“I think you can clearly see that I didn’t click so well with Carlos [Sainz, his former teammate at Toro Rosso] compared now with Daniel. The situation was very different at Toro Rosso where Carlos and I both knew that there was only one seat at Red Bull.”
But Verstappen does realise that when the pair battle for wins and ultimately the championship, things will be different with his teammate, “I’m not naive. Everything will be more intense and tensions will rise.”
“But it is up to the team to manage the process, ensure it runs smoothly, make sure that everyone in the team works together to improve the car and that nobody withholds information. But I do not see that happening anytime soon,” added Verstappen.