While much of the talk relating to Red Bull in 2018 is about the Austrian outfit’s new engine partner, one cannot help but feel that it is the volatile driver pairing that will really dominate the headlines.
Racing drivers are notoriously competitive and selfish. Though they insist they will work for the good of the team, ultimately they will work almost purely for themselves.
From the day they first sit in a kart, through the numerous junior series and into F1, the aim has been simple, to be the best, to win… and, sad as it is to admit, you don’t win titles by being Mr Nice Guy.
In Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen, Red Bull is going to have two hot-blooded, precocious talents on its hands, and one cannot help but feel that the rivalry will exceed anything the team has had to handle before.
Speaking to reporters at Interlagos today, Verstappen admitted that he was so incensed at missing out on pole in Mexico he wanted to “do some damage to somebody”.
“I was mainly very angry because of the problems I had with my engine during qualifying,” said the Dutch youngster. “That weekend I was clearly fastest, but for seventy-five seconds I wasn’t.
“I was literally pissed off,” he admitted, though hopefully using the term “literally” incorrectly. “And of course every little thing that comes with it makes me even more angry.
“I wouldn’t even say it, but I could literally do some damage to someone if somebody would say something wrong to me after qualifying, that’s how angry I was. Every little thing makes it even worse.
“For me it was not really after the youngest pole record,” he insisted. “I don’t think Lewis really cares that he’s not the youngest pole-sitter, with five titles, you know what I mean? It’s not a big deal. Just fighting for pole, that was the target.
“For me it felt like I never really had a great opportunity, compared to some other qualifying sessions where I felt like it was great, a good feeling, and then you’re only P3 or P5 sometimes, but it felt like it was a good session. This felt horrible, and then you’re still second by such a small margin.”
Last week, Max’s father, Jos, who also had issues with anger, admitted that his son drives faster when the red mist descends.
“Apparently he hadn’t slept well at all,” he told Ziggo Sport’s ‘Peptalk. “He was still frustrated that he missed out on pole because of the car. But usually when Max is angry, he drives even faster. He really wanted to make a point and win this race.”
Like the man said, there could be a “whole world of pain” ahead.