Andretti: Verstappen in a very good place, more relaxed

Andretti: Verstappen in a very good place, more relaxed

Mario Andretti thinks that Max Verstappen is now in a very good place, the American believing that winning the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship made the Dutchman more relaxed.

The former F1 driver was speaking in an interview with RacingNews365.com, and is convinced that Verstappen offloaded a lot of pressure off his shoulders the moment he clinched his maiden F1 Drivers’ Crown in 2021.

Verstappen always repeated during the 2021 F1 Title fight that he never felt any pressure and that losing the Championship would not be the end of the world but Andretti thinks it’s all just talk.

“You can say all you want, but once you accomplish your ultimate goal, a lot of pressure’s off your shoulders,” he said.

“There’s no better situation than being more relaxed. Sometimes, when you’re in that frame of mind, you just do things even better.

“He’s in a very good place,” the 81-year-old went on. “He fought so hard [for the title] and now he probably relishes to try to repeat it. That’s what drives you, that’s what keeps you motivated. But at least he has that one under his belt, which is huge.”

Things will be better for Verstappen

The 1978 F1 Champion has a wealth of knowledge to tap into on such matters, and he believes things will only get better for the Red Bull ace from now on.

He said: “I can only express what my thoughts were on a situation like that, when you accomplish something that’s your ultimate goal. When you finally do it, oh my goodness, from there on things are all better!”

“When you achieve something like that, usually the fans have a different appreciation,” the veteran of 128 grands prix said out of his own experience.

“You could see how strong Verstappen’s fan base was [last season], by showing these orange plumes [of smoke] and all that. You had grandstands full of them!

“You have justified their confidence in you, and you know that they have a special appreciation now that you’ve done it, so it’s all good. All of those things are positive, and that’s what you work for, that’s what you sweat for,” Andretti explained.

“It never comes easy. That’s why, when you finally do it, the right people actually appreciate it and they show it to you. Things will never be the same, they’ll be better.

“There’s also respect. There’s a certain degree of respect that you gain, even from your own competitors, whether they show it or not,” he revealed.

Andretti won his title in 1978 driving the famous Lotus 79 F1 car, the first car ever to win an F1 Championship with ground effect, the aero philosophy around which the 2022 F1 cars will be built as part of the major rules overhaul that will also feature 18″, low-profile tyres for the first time, as the F1 aims to improve the racing.