Should Red Bull have waited longer before promoting Max Verstappen to the main team? (2:39)
Max Verstappen says making his F1 debut at the age of 17 was a bigger risk than switching to Red Bull midway through the season this year.
After just four races of 2016, Verstappen has been promoted to the senior Red Bull team in place of Daniil Kvyat who will return to Toro Rosso. Verstappen will now go up against his toughest teammate yet in Daniel Ricciardo, but said the risk of being shown up is worth the reward of getting a drive at a championship-winning team.
“To be honest I’m very happy with the chance they have given me,” he said. “I’m racing for a top team now and that was always the plan of what I wanted to do. With the risk, to be honest I think it was a bigger risk to be so young in Formula One and I have handled that pretty well.
“From now on it will just be getting used to a new car, which is not easy mid-season, but already the things I have done at the factory have given me a lot of confidence. Of course there are a lot of procedures to learn again, but it will come race by race.”
Despite Red Bull’s cutthroat reputation with its young drivers, Verstappen says he has been made to feel comfortable throughout his rise to the top.
“So far Red Bull have guided me in the right way and I feel very comfortable. If you feel very comfortable then you will perform and if you are very happy you will perform even better. A happy person and a comfortable person will always perform better.
“At the moment I’m like that and I hope to keep it that way and I think in the end it is not up to raw speed but the experience around it, but you get that by doing every grand prix step by step and that’s getting better all the time.”