Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says experience has made him a more consistent driver, and one more aware of acceptable risk in racing.
Verstappen was criticised for his crash-laden 2018 F1 season, two years into his career with Red Bull. After that year’s Monaco Grand Prix, the Dutchman was vastly more consistent, and in 2019, he once more proved himself to be a reliable driver.
Come 2020, the 23-year-old was among the most dependable performers, repeatedly coming third and only losing second in the championship – to Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas – by virtue of five retirements over the 17-race F1 season.
Verstappen now says that this consistency is the greatest area of growth for him in the 2020 F1 season, after years of costly mistakes, and even lesser errors costing him in 2019. “I think just learning from mistakes you make, even though last year was pretty good,” he said to media including F1, Motorsport Network, Racefans.net, BBC and more.
“But there was things you can do better. And I think in general that has been consistency [for me], and knowing when to take risk, when not, like starts, lap one, staying out of trouble, keeping your car in one shape. Yeah, I think those kind of things,” said Verstappen, who asserts that his outright speed was not an area of notable improvement.
“I don’t think it’s like general speed because I think the speed when you join F1, you are always fast but experience at the end of the day makes you a better driver,” added Verstappen, who was positive about his performance, and that of his team, who he feels did well to address their car’s shortcomings.
“I mean looking at my own performances I think I can be happy with that. I think I improved again compared to the year before and that’s I think what you want. You always want to become better. I had a few good results, nice podiums. Of course, we expected.
“In the beginning of the year, we we wanted to fight for the chairmanship which didn’t happen but then I think quite quickly we accepted that in a way of trying to understand the car, why it was not performing like we wanted to, and we tried to improve it, which I think we did, but yeah we had a few retirements as well.
“And still of course Mercedes was the dominant team but I think in general we still had a good season and had fun,” Verstappen concluded, who eventually finished on the podium in all of the races he saw the chequered flag barring Turkish GP. Among the Top 3, he was the sole to have just one non-podium finish, where even Lewis Hamilton had two.
Here’s a run-down on if Max Verstappen is the reason for Red Bull’s junior troubles?
Here’s AlphaTauri-Red Bull synergy working well
Here’s the drivers’ Top 10 of 2020
Here’s stats difference from 2019 to 2020
Here’s Daniil Kvyat on hurried steps taken
Here’s Helmut Marko and Max Verstappen on Sergio Perez hire