Following his second win of the season at the Mexican Grand Prix, Max Verstappen has put his impressive form in the second half of the season down to following some advice from his father — Jos — used to give him during his karting days as a youngster.
Since his torrid weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix earlier this year, where he crashed out in final practice and was unable to take part in qualifying — giving teammate Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo an easy run to pole position and the eventual win — Verstappen has turned his season around, scoring two victories and seven podiums. His performances in the early part of the year resulted in some criticism and calls for him to alter his driving style — calls which he has consistently disregarded.
When asked what the difference is now compared to earlier in the year, Verstappen said: “The difference is I just listened to myself and I do my own thing. Even if there are a lot of things written, I really don’t care. My Dad always taught me in karting back in the day if I was maybe overdriving or something, he would always tell me: ‘Max even if you think you’re not going fast enough, it’s still fast enough’ so I basically put my feelings back to that a little bit and it seems to have made a bit faster.”
Reflecting on the race itself, Verstappen says taking the lead at the start and being able to manage the pace from the front was key to scoring his second career victory at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
“A bit similar to last year where I could do my own race which helps a lot and I think this year was a bit more difficult because of the tyres, they were easy to grain but of course I didn’t have any traffic and it seemed like Lewis was struggling a bit more with his tyres so I had no pressure from behind for a very long time,” Verstappen added. “I was doing my own pace, matching his lap times when I needed to then, of course, Sebastian was coming through the field, passing Daniel, and also Lewis.
“I had to pick up the pace a little bit to try and match him and that seemed to be working alright. To be sure, after, we pitted, we also put a new tyre on and bought it to the end.”