Why Verstappen "won't have nightmares" over F1 title defeat

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has opened up on why he thinks winning a Formula 1 world title won't change his life, and why he 'won't have nightmares' if Lewis Hamilton beats him to the 2021 crown.

Listen to this article

For most athletes, becoming world champion in their discipline is a life-changing event, the culmination of a lifetime of effort, focus and sacrifice.

While Verstappen has certainly been groomed from a young age by racing father Jos to get to the pinnacle of his discipline, the 24-year-old appears to have developed a surprisingly pragmatic mindset on future success.

At the Turkish Grand Prix, the Dutchman, who is embroiled in a tense F1 title fight with Mercedes rival Hamilton, stated he was relaxed about the outcome of 2021, saying that "even if we would finish second, I think we'd still have had a great season. At the end of the day, it's not really going to change my life."

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com ahead of the US Grand Prix in Austin, Verstappen says the realisation that there is more to life than competing has helped form his cool outlook.

"To be honest, for some it does change your life but for me it doesn't," Verstappen said during a visit to Red Bull fuel partner ExxonMobil, which runs a campus in nearby Houston.

"It is of course my goal, and I will always try to be the best I can be, but it's not going to change my life in terms of how I live it or what I'm going to do afterwards.

"I see a lot of happy drivers or people who haven't won a championship. I think whatever you do on track shouldn't influence your personal life.

"At least I would not be a sore, sad person if I would never win a championship. I will have a lot of things I can also do after Formula 1.

"For me Formula 1 is one part of your life, but actually the most important is what is outside of Formula 1. Maybe [some] people don't really know how to deal with that."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Part of his pragmatism also stems from the fact that F1 drivers are highly dependent on external factors on their quest for success, an unsurpassable reality he is already intimately familiar with.

He was widely tipped to become F1's youngest world champion after his record-breaking maiden win at the age of 18, at an unforgettable 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, but five years on the 2021 season has been his first genuine opportunity to challenge Hamilton and Mercedes, with Red Bull finally able to deliver the equipment to go head-to-head with F1's dominant force.

That allowed Verstappen to enter the final six races of 2021 with a slender six-point lead on the seven-time world champion, but he says he won't suffer nightmares if Hamilton ends up pipping him at the post.

"If I can say later on 'I've won the world championship' then great, is it amazing and something you dream of, but if it doesn't materialise because of obvious reasons – where you didn't have the right package to do so or it just didn't click or you were unlucky, then so be it," he added.

"It's not like I'm going to wake up in the middle of the night because of having nightmares about it. For me it will not change my life."

2021 F1 Cutaway Sergio Mobil

2021 F1 Cutaway Sergio Mobil

Photo by: Divulgacao

shares
comments
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest
Previous article

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Next article

Sainz on Ferrari F1 life: Signing contract in his pyjamas, nervous fans and his breakthrough

Sainz on Ferrari F1 life: Signing contract in his pyjamas, nervous fans and his breakthrough
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2022
What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022