Max visits Exact: 'I think we have a good chance in Brazil'
Published on 06 November 2019 by Stefan Meens
After back-to-back races in Mexico and the USA, Max Verstappen prepares for the finale of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship with Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix remaining. After quickly visiting his home in Monaco, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver stopped by the Exact head quarters in the Netherlands. There, the Dutchman was welcomed by hundredths of Exact employees, before being interviewed.
How do you feel about your third place at the Circuit of the Americas? “The weekend was good. We were competitive on a track that, normally, doesn’t suit us over one lap. But it actually went pretty smooth. Some weekends it’s really difficult to find the right balance but it all worked well.”
"Straight after the race I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to fight the Mercedes, but once I got out of the car and realised it missed a huge chunk of the floor, an area with a big effect on the performance, I thought we did a pretty good job.”
When did your car get damaged? “In lap five. Initially, the team told me about the front wing damage at the start but that was only a tiny scratch. The team thought that was the issue but the wing wasn’t moving. Normally, front wing damage results in understeer. However, I had issues with the rear of the car. Eventually we figured out we must’ve hit something in lap five or something fell off. Normally you lose a lot of track time because the balance of the car is ruined. So in the end it was still a good race.”
The 2019 season has only two races remaining. What are your hopes for the remainder of this campaign? “I think we have a good chance in Brazil. Last year in the race we were very competitive. We should’ve won if it hadn’t been for a backmarker. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to return. After a few difficult weekends, things are better and I hope to fight for a podium in Brazil.”
Looking back at the rest of the season, what has been your highlight? “I think the first half of the season. In the opening stages we struggled but we were consistent. Both wins were pretty special, because we didn’t see them coming. In Austria there were so many Dutch fans, the grandstands were orange. I had that bad start but managed to work my way to the front on a track were overtaking isn’t easy. It was my second win at the Red Bull Ring and the first with Honda. It all came together that day.”
“The race in Germany, which I also won, was very chaotic. A lot of things went wrong and I really had to focus. The circumstances were tough. It rained, then it was dry which meant we were on slicks on a partially damp track. It was all about not making a mistake. To then win the race was obviously very satisfying.”
What are your expectations for next year? “We have to wait and see. We are working very hard as a team. Of course, we’ve had good results, but we want to take the next step and fight for the championship. This first year with Honda was a learning year and we made a lot of progress. Everyone is motivated and wants to win; that’s the right mentality”, concludes Max, who leaves straight for Milton Keynes to drive Red Bull simulator in preparation for the Brazilian Grand Prix.