Max Verstappen does not approach the race weekend in Saudi Arabia any differently than usual, now that he can theoretically become world champion. Droogjes: “Let’s get to know the track first.”
By Rik Spekenbrink
Few people would have thought otherwise, but Max Verstappen is not going to do anything crazy or other now that he has a mathematical chance to become Formula 1 world champion in Jeddah. “I won’t change anything,” said Verstappen at the international part of Thursday’s press conference. “I do what I always do. And shut me off from everything else. Also by doing other things, staying neutral in my emotions. As always.”
His first focus is logically to master the street circuit, farm fresh. He did not do a ‘track walk’ this time. But on the simulator, the Dutchman learned that it is a ‘very fast track’. ,,In the first free practice we will see how it really is. A new circuit offers new opportunities. For everyone of course.” Verstappen could not yet predict how the relations between his team Red Bull and the rivals of Mercedes will be.
Even after sunset, it’s hot and oppressive in Jeddah, which will be driven under artificial light for the next few days. The circuit is still being worked on with all its might, trucks and personnel drive back and forth to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. The promoter is proud to have laid down the fastest track in the world in record time, but the truth is that it really all comes down to the very last minute.
Verstappen has to make do with that situation, just like the rest of course. Many questions to the Limburger were logically about the approaching denouement in the championship. He is eight points ahead of Lewis Hamilton with two races to go. Verstappen again indicated that he has not become a different person this season, and that he will not become dependent on the outcome of the intense fight.
In any case, we should be very happy and proud of this season. Last year was much less fun.
,,We should be very happy and proud of this season. Last year was much less fun. I often came third. If I made a pit stop, I was still third. There was little to it. This is much more exciting, and I hope it stays that way for two more races. A season like this is good for the sport: a young guy against the established order.”
Whether it gives him an advantage that a possible crash will have greater consequences for Hamilton than for himself, was the question. “I really don’t think I would. It’s about the best performance by myself and the team, that’s where the focus is, not on anyone else.” Valtteri Bottas, alongside Verstappen, confirmed that. ,,Max really isn’t going to count now. Everyone just keeps racing like they always do.”
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