Max Verstappen feels relieved risky F1 move in 2015 worked well for career
It is rare for any young driver at the age of 17-years to make his Formula 1 debut, but Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen did so in 2015. After just the one year in FIA European F3 series in 2014, Verstappen was called upon to compete in F1 with Toro Rosso by Red Bull in a bold move.
The Dutch driver didn't disappoint as his ruthless aggression brought F1 alive, reminding that drivers still have that 'X-Factor' in the sport. But still, it wasn't exactly a risk-free graduation as Verstappen himself admitted that anything could have gone wrong and his career would have ended.
"I think it was the right decision for me," he said in an interview to Sportstar. "Also, I didn’t have to pay for another seat (for another year) in junior categories. In the end, it is always personally the best to be in Formula One, so I didn’t really want to spend another season in other categories.
"It’s always a risk [with such quick graduation], as you never know how it is going to work out in Formula One, but luckily for us, it has worked out quite well. I talked a lot about it with my dad, because he had raced in Formula One as well — that helps a lot.
"Of course, there’s a lot of things to learn (always), and I got the time for that as well at that time. So in the end, it actually worked out quite well. I feel I was ready for it because that’s where I wanted to be — Formula One. And from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, it is like, you always want to go to the top team and that’s what we did."
It indeed worked out well. As he mentioned, not only his F1 debut was fast-tracked, but his move from Toro Rosso to senior Red Bull outfit also happened within a year's time, after he replaced Daniil Kvyat in another bold decision by the energy drinks giants.
And Verstappen didn't disappoint as he took his maiden F1 victory on his Red Bull debut. In the three seasons so far, Verstappen has finished 12th, fifth and sixth respectively scoring 49, 204 and 168 points racing for Toro Rosso and Red Bull.
The year 2017, though, didn't go as per plans with seven retirements and some fiery moments, however, Verstappen still took two wins and two podiums. "I think at one point in your career, you have things that are not quite happening. So, it is important to learn how to deal with that. And I think, I did that pretty well (this year)," he said.
On the DNFs and controversy with penalties, he added: "I was just disappointed when it (DNFs) happened, but you have to try and stay positive, and try to take positives out of it, even though you retired in the race. And no, I don’t think much (about different reactions).
"You just have to get on with it. I never really see the mental side of it. I think it’s a normal thing to do, if people have the same thing happening to them," he said, clearing that it is not hard for him to accept defeat, but it is true, he doesn't care about his rival's reputation much when fighting on track.
You can find the full interview here: www.sportstarlive.com/magazine/max-verstappen-i-never-really-see-the-mental-side-of-racing/article21677426.ece