Max Verstappen says he is happy to give up popularity among his fellow Formula 1 drivers if it helps him realise his dream of becoming world drivers’ champion.
The Dutchman certainly made a splash upon debuting in F1 and then stepping up to Red Bull in just his second campaign on the grid, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both taking umbrage with his fiery on-track antics.
While Verstappen has mellowed on-track somewhat as the years has gone on, he remains one of the hardest racers on the grid, as discovered by Charles Leclerc in Austria this year when the Dutchman barged his way past for victory.
That move has sparked F1’s rule-makers to change their thinking and let racers race more, something which is to Verstappen’s liking as he goes in search of glory.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant or disrespectful to others,” Verstappen told BBC Sport.
“I’m very determined to win and I would not give up. If I have to go over I’ll go over; if I have to go under, I’ll go under. In that kind of way.”
“Like overtaking, if I have to touch, I’ll touch. It’s not like it always needs to be in the cleanest way.
“Let’s say it like this: after my career, if I would have won five championships but I’m maybe not the most liked person, for me that doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day it’s all about winning.
“And that maybe sounds arrogant, but I don’t want to sound like that. I would do anything – or everything – to win. If it’s a little bit – not dirty, but in a hard way – I will do it. I am not here to be the most liked person.”