Max Verstappen has had to deal with arguably the toughest two customers in Formula 1, Helmut Marko and his father Jos Verstappen, but the young Dutchman believes this has made him stronger.
Verstappen senior, a former grand prix driver, guided his son throughout his karting career into single-seater racing, mentoring him and preparing his karts to the highest level. But he was a tough taskmaster as anyone who raced with the Verstappens during their karting days. The stories of their adventures during that period are the stuff of legend.
Speaking during a talk show on Servus TV, with Marko also a studio guest, the Red Bull star was asked if it was tough to work with the notoriously strict Doctor.
The 21-year-old replied, “All my life I worked together with my dad, and he is very tough too. Ultimately, that’s a good thing. It brought me to F1, of course with the support of Red Bull and Helmut.”
“But you have to stay critical and that was necessary after those weekends in China and Monaco. We talked about it. These things can’t happen but sometimes you need to go through it to become stronger.”
The Dutchman previously revealed that a talking to by his mentors brought him back to winning ways after a somewhat an incident-prone and wayward first half of the season. But the more youngest bounced back in style, ending the season strongly including a famous victory at Red Bull’s home race in Austria.
“It was amazing,” he recalled. “Especially with so many Dutch fans there. It was awesome to win with a Red Bull Racing car at the Red Bull Ring. It was unbelievable. I didn’t expect it the night before the race. The race panned out a bit like the 2016 one, only this time it was for the win.”
Verstappen won again in Mexico and only Esteban Ocon’s brainless punt in Brazil robbed him of victory in Brazil, “In normal circumstances, we would’ve won there. Our car was very good in the corners and we didn’t lose too much time on the straights. The two wins were nice.”
A new era beckons for Milton Keynes as Honda-powered Red Bulls are currently being built at the factory for the first time, marking the start of a partnership with huge potential and ambition.
However, looking to 2019, Verstappen revealed little, “It’s difficult to say as we don’t know what the others are doing. From our end, things are positive and everybody is really motivated. That’s important and wonderful to see.”