Max: 'I am always motivated and always want to win'

Published on 04 June 2019 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen flew to Austria Monday evening, together with former Formula 1-driver Mark Webber, he was a guest in ServusTV’s show Sport & Talk. In the show, broadcasted from Hangar-7, a variety of subjects were featured. There was also a moment of reflection on the passing of the famous Austrian Niki Lauda.

“Niki was a legend, as he has won so many in the Formula 1 already. He was also a very nice man and still extremely motivated when it concerned Formula 1. That was of course super to see and it’s a shame that he is no longer around”, says Max about Lauda.

Max was ultimately ranked fourth fastest in Monaco, after having been given a five-second time-penalty. But the victory was very close. Has the distance to Mercedes decreased? “That is difficult to say. In any case in qualifying we were behind of Mercedes and they made the wrong tyre choice for Lewis during the race. There is still a gap but I had a fun race in any case.”

After the ‘unsafe release’ in the pit lane, where Valtteri Bottas and Max made contact, the latter was penalized. He had this to say about that: “It was clear that a penalty would follow, it is what it is. It was just an ‘unsafe release’. I think that if we hadn’t touched, nothing would have been wrong. However, I had no clue that Valtteri was next to me. It’s of course a shame, but it was a good race.”

Is it difficult to stay positive with such a dominant Mercedes? Max: “I am always motivated and always want to win. At this moment, Mercedes is just on a roll. I hadn’t expected them to be so strong though because Ferrari was ahead of the game during Winter testing. We know that we can improve ourselves and that is what we are going to try to do. Hopefully in the next race we can achieve a good result again. So far, I think, we have always maximized. We need a bit more performance from the car and the engine, but it’s of course not easy to make that happen in a couple of races. Mercedes and Ferrari are also making strides.”

How is the mood inside Red Bull Racing? “Everything is going well and I am very happy. I feel very well adjusted in the team. I am having fun and that is eventually also very important for a team. The whole team is very motivated, also because of our new partner Honda. But we need to get at it, we know that and we like to as well.”

How does your perfect team mate look like? “As long as he is a bit slower than I am, haha!”, Max replies with a laugh. “Of course you need to have fun together, but also both make it hard for the competitors as well. That was super with Daniel and it will be the same again with Pierre as well.”

How is the collaboration going with Honda being the new supplier of the power units? Max: “Everything is going well. They are very professional and the communication is also fine. Prior to everything, everyone thought that that might pose some problems, but it has always gone well, right from Winter testing onwards. Of course we need more power, but that will come. It’s of course not easy, but so far I am very happy with what Honda has managed to do.”

Will you be able to put a stop to Mercedes’ winning streak in Montreal? “We always want to try. Last year wasn’t that bad, but I expect Ferrari to be very strong because of the long straights. They have a high top speed. I am very motivated to make it to the podium. Of course I want to win, but given the fact that Mercedes is so strong, that won’t be easy.”   

Is the championship still on your mind or have you stopped thinking about that? Max: “For sure we need to get closer if we want to be able to think about the world championship at all. Of course you always think about it, but in the end you need to try to make the best of it every weekend. So far we have done just that, maybe apart from Monaco, but for a championship title we need to be even better.”   

At the end of this month you’ll be racing on Spielberg again. “Last year there were a lot of Dutch fans. It was great winning the race there. Even more so winning in a Red Bull-car on the Red Bull Ring, it’s unbelievable. It doesn’t get any better I think. Especially after the somewhat difficult start of the season last year.”

Following the TV-show, Max flew back home to Monaco from where he will be leaving for Montreal today. The Canadian Grand Prix is on the schedule this weekend.