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Formula 1 Italian GP

Verstappen: Red Bull not designed around my driving style

Max Verstappen has dismissed suggestions that he has outpaced his Red Bull Formula 1 team-mates because the car is designed around his driving style.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

In Zandvoort Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff hinted that Verstappen had the upper hand against Sergio Perez because the “tricky” car suited him better.

Asked about the gap between the two team-mates Wolff said: “We’ve seen that Max has destroyed every single team-mate that was with him.

"Whether or not it’s his ability to create a car around himself that is very tricky to control, but fast if you can, and it makes those gaps, I haven’t heard any explanations, but… Odd.”

Verstappen insists that he adapts his driving to whatever car he is given in order to maximise its potential.

“Bulls*** comments,” he said when it was suggested that the car is designed around his style. “It's not like that.

“I mean, I just drive the car I get to the fastest way possible. I'm not there to tell the guys to give me more front end, because that's how I like it.

“I'll just say ‘design me the fastest car, and I'll drive around that.’ Every single year it's just different, every car drives a little bit different.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Erik Junius

“People will say what is your driving style? My driving style is not something particular, I adapt to what I need for the car to go quick."

Asked if what he is achieving with Red Bull in 2023 is being generally underestimated – a point of view expressed by Fernando Alonso last week – Verstappen conceded that finding consistent success is not as easy as it might look.

"I mean, I'm not out there to try and prove anything really, like I'm just there to do the best I can with the material I have,” he said.

“And probably also people don't know what's going on within the team, and how difficult it is when you have a very good car to deliver what we are doing as a team, and to win basically every race so far.

“And some people also they can't appreciate when somebody is constantly doing a good job, I think. And I'm not talking about myself only, just the whole team operation.

“I am just there to do my job. I'm not there to be recognised as other people recognise what I'm doing."

Asked by Motorsport.com about Adrian Newey’s recent suggestion that he now has to be considered among F1's all-time greats, with the Red Bull technical chief citing his ability to drive on automatic and have the capacity to process other things, Verstappen also took a modest approach.

"Everyone has their own opinion about these kinds of things,” he said. “But for me I was never in F1 to try and prove that I am belonging between other people's names, the greats in the sport.

“I'm just here to try and do the best I can, and try to win as much as I can when I have the opportunity.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Erik Junius

"It's for sure a very enjoyable time to be driving the car. But every single weekend there are always a lot of things that come up, and you have to optimise.

"And it's never a straightforward weekend. And, of course, in a way, it's almost like automatic pilot, but also, I think you gain a lot more experience.

“And I think I always had this kind of thing where you're driving the car, but you're also thinking about a lot of other processes. It's not something new suddenly, to me."

Verstappen downplayed the prospect of beating Sebastian Vettel’s all-time consecutive win record with a 10th straight victory this weekend, while acknowledging that he had been impressed by his Red Bull predecessor’s record when it was achieved.

“I remember when he did it,” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow.’ I mean, that's just a crazy number. I think no one ever will do something like that. And here we are. I mean, it's a crazy number, but I'm also not really too fixated on it."

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He added: "I never thought that I would win nine in a row first of all, but now that we are here, of course, I'll try to win 10. But it's more about I want to just win. It's not about the number 10 in my head.

“And I think also that just helps a lot to just focus on the weekend. I mean, it's already difficult enough with the different tyre choices that we have to deal with. I will just get on with it and see what happens."

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