• 19-year-old F1 driver says he only wants to follow the right example • ‘My best F1 experience is winning a race,’ says Dutchman
Max Verstappen has insisted that he wants to live up to the standards set by Michael Schumacher rather than emulate his greatness. The 19-year-old Dutchman, a shock winner at the Russian Grand Prix last weekend, says he is content to follow his example while admitting that he would prefer to be remembered as a team-mate rather than as the world champion himself.
In an interview with L’Equipe, Verstappen spoke about the expectations he is under. “If you are known for something like that [winning a grand prix], you have to show everybody what you can do. That means being a bit more cautious,” he said. “But in general there are certain rules for a driver [to be successful]. You have to do what Schumacher did – take care of your racecraft. I don’t want to be the next Michael Schumacher.”
Max Verstappen wins Russian GP as Lewis Hamilton starts season in Russia Read more
Verstappen’s victory in Russia may end up being a catalyst for great things, but already he is aware of the tough times he will need to face. “It’s not easy to prepare yourself for race day,” he said. “If something goes wrong, it can happen at any moment. You think you’re really prepared and then it doesn’t turn out that way.”
The youngest race winner of all time, Verstappen gained plaudits from all quarters for his determination to put in a strong performance at Russia’s Sochi circuit. “It was a new experience and a new challenge,” he said. “It was difficult to open up the car. Maybe it was because the track was not as fast as expected, and I wasn’t able to achieve a top speed. But I was able to fight for the front and managed to do it, so I’m really pleased.”
The Red Bull driver has proved himself time and again this season, but admits his best performance came at the last race. “It was a good race, and Russia is a track where we work well,” he said. “I’m happy I could finish well after getting a puncture in the Chinese race. Hopefully there will be more to come for us.”