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Verstappen: Helmut is almost a second father to me

Max Verstappen lacks no self-confidence and in his first interview of the year is adamant that his goal is simple: to be the best and he aims to prove that by doing the talking on track with a little help from his ‘second dad’ Helmut Marko.

Speaking during an interview with Ziggo Sport, Verstappen said, “I think you should always believe in yourself or you’d better stay at home. If you do not believe in their abilities, then it’s no use doing anything. The goal should be to be the best and if I really am, I have to prove it first and I hope to have the opportunity to do it more often in the future.”

Comparison’s to Senna has been a constant since the young Dutchman broke on to the Formula 1 scene, but Verstappen has clear views on the matter, “I do not want to be compared to anyone, it’s more important to be yourself, but of course it’s good it happens because it means that you’re doing something right. In F1 you’re a hero one day and the next you can be an idiot, I live for the moment.”

Red Bull consultant  Marko was instrumental in securing Verstappen’s services before he was fast-tracked into the Toro Rosso team. By mid-2106 Marko made an inspired decision to promote the 18-year-old (at the time) to the senior team after a handful of races in 2016.

Verstappen recalls, “In Barcelona, in 2016, my first victory… Helmut took the chance and put me in a Red Bull. Opinions were divided, but we won at the moment and that was very good.”

“Helmut is almost a second father to me and I think that he also sees it like that. He always wants the best for me and he sees everything, does not miss any detail.”

“If I have a good performance he is happy, but he is also honest with me and when I mess up he says: That was not right.”

Red Bull, no doubt urged by Marko, have signed Verstappen until the end of 2020 and hope to secure Daniel Ricciardo’s services for a similar period, however, the Australian has yet to sign an extension on his deal which runs out at the end of this season.

Verstappen has said he would be happy to have Ricciardo remain with the team and added, “He’s extremely good, he’s a tough competitor on the track but we treat each other with great respect. It’s hard to see another good relationship between teammates in the paddock,” added Verstappen.

Finally, he also spoke about a time when he holidayed with the Schumacher family, “We had a vacation together when I was four or five. I remember a few things, I was just a kid and I played with his son Mick, who is a little younger than I. It was all very quiet and with lots of games.”

As for the great German F1 legend as a driver, Verstappen said, “He used to do everything he could to win, even take someone off the track, that’s the mentality of a winner.”

Big Question: Does greatness beckon for Max?