Verstappen: That’s just how I grew up


Max Verstappen looked back on three of his standout victories of the 19 he scored as he romped to the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, crediting his upbringing for remaining motivated when the title was decided five races before the end of the season.

It was the most dominant season in the sport’s history by a man in one with the glorious Red Bull RB19, the most effective combo of driver and car ever in F1. Verstappen’s achievements this season have been well-documented. Many times, and long ago we ran out of superlatives to thrust at him for his achievements.

Reflecting on the three race wins that mattered most to him this season, speaking to F1.com Verstappen said: “I think the comeback race in Miami was great, that was an important one. Winning at home at Zandvoort was a very nice one and, I think winning at Suzuka after the tough weekend we had in Singapore.”

During the post-race press conference, on Sunday night after winning the season finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Verstappen explained what kept him motivated when he had the 2023 F1 WDC sealed on the night of the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint Race, Round 17 of the 22 this season. But it was a mere formality long before that.

The Dutchman said: “That’s just how I grew up. I can’t just come into a weekend not giving it all. I just get annoyed with myself and I know the people around me get annoyed with me if I would be like that. It doesn’t really matter.”

Verstappen: I love driving, I think that’s first and foremost

Abu Dhabi Qualifying: Verstappen vs Leclerc and Mclarens

“My mindset also didn’t change after winning the championship,” insisted Max. “I come to the race weekends and I of course always try to do the best I can. And it’s nice. You know winning is great. Why would I not want to win when you have the opportunity to win?

“When I see that there is of course the opportunity to win, I will always try to do the best I can and also for the team. When you have such a good car, you want to try and extend certain records and do well.

“I love driving, I think that’s – first and foremost – the most important thing to be here. And, of course, winning is the best thing in F1. For me, naturally, the motivation is there, because I know that for most of the races that I go to this year, I have a big chance of winning, so that’s great.

“I think it’s tougher when you have been in that position and then you come to a race where it’s not possible anymore, then it’s hard, or harder, to find your motivation. You need to try and look into different places, how you can keep that motivation going.

“But at the moment, of course, when you’re on the top, I think it’s probably easier than when you’re in the middle of the pack,” added Verstappen, who celebrated on the podium 21 times, 18 times as a winner. He also started from pole position on 12 occasions, scoring a record 575 points, 290 more than P2 man, his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.

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