Max at FIA Priza Giving gala in Paris: 'It was a very constant season'

Published on 07 December 2019 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen received his prize for third place in the Formula 1 world championship 2019 at the FIA Prize Giving gala in Paris. As a cherry on top of the cake Max also received the reward for the best overtaking move of the year, for his spectacular battle with Charles Leclerc at Silverstone, which the Dutchman won.

Before the gala Max gave an interview to the gathered press, where he looked back to the past season. At the question if he had grown as driver, Max says: “I think in general it was a very constant season and we had again good results. The start of the season was difficult. We were not able to compete for victory, so we had to be as consistent as possible. But for me it is of course a process, as I am gaining more and more experience. That helps to perform more constantly.”

The season for Max turned around in Austria, where he masterly drove to victory. This win is seen by Max as the nicest of the year: “Given all the circumstances Austria was the best victory. It was the home race for the team, it was the first victory for Honda in the V6 era and with so many Dutch fans on the grandstands it was even more special, in comparison with the other wins.”

Max continues: “Before Austria we had some more difficult races and were not competitive enough. But there we brought some updates to the car which seemed to work much better. Besides that, we made the right compromises with the car for the race, the car suddenly came to life during the race. Still it was quite unexpected. For the team it was a great boost of motivation and especially for Honda after all their hard years since their return to Formula 1. So this victory brought some relief.”

This year was for Max the first time that he was the most experienced driver at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. But taking on the lead was not a challenge for the Dutchman: “For me it did not make a difference. The feedback I gave was right, and I did not change my approach. It is nice when everyone is listening to you. From the start we focussed more on one car and I was able to really share my ideas. Before it came from two sides, so this was positive.”

About his battle with Leclerc during the British Grand Prix Verstappen says: “A lot happened and it was very cool. We went a bit out and our wheels had some contact, this does not happen a lot normally in Formula 1. I love it and if you win it is even more satisfactory than when you lose. Even since our go-karting time we had those battles and I am sure we will have more of that in the coming years. I think it is good for Formula 1.”

Finally, Max is optimistic that the team will be able to participate for victory next season: “We hope to be more competitive next year. We have to be that from the start of the season to be able to fight for the title. That is where we will put all our energy. It will not be easy, the competition is strong, but the team has shown in the past that they can do it. We go for it and do everything we can.”