Verstappen: I won’t be in Formula 1 in 15 years

Max Verstappen won the Belgian Grand Prix by a wide margin despite only starting 14th and was asked after the race to explain how he did it. In addition, he stressed that he was not going to play in Formula 1 forever …

Question: Can you say that this weekend you have achieved the biggest advantage in all 155 Grand Prix of your career?
Max Verstappen: Perhaps, if you remember how the whole Belgian weekend unfolded, then I’m ready to agree with this. From the very first practice, the car was incredibly fast. I don’t think we expected this. But sometimes there are pleasant surprises, and that’s good.

It’s really cool to drive such a car on the track in Spa. Although, of course, we understood that when starting from the 14th position, we would have to overcome certain difficulties.

Avoiding trouble on the first lap was not easy, but we managed it, although there was a lot going on in front of me on the track. But then everything calmed down thanks to the appearance of the safety car, after which I made one overtaking on almost every lap. Having reached the 3rd position, I saw that the Soft tires on which I started were still in good condition, and figured that we had a good chance of winning.

Q: According to you, you did not expect the car to be so fast. Do you think you added it, or is everything explained by the features of the track?
Max Verstappen: I think we have a very efficient machine. In addition, perhaps the Belgian track suits her perfectly. At the same time, I know that on some tracks where we have yet to compete, there will be a few more difficulties, so I foresee an interesting fight with Ferrari.

Question: You took the lead on lap 12, despite the fact that for a couple of laps there was a safety car on the track. Did you lead the race even earlier than expected?
Max Verstappen: To be honest, I didn’t even think about it on Saturday. I just wanted to have a better race, although I understood that if you can avoid problems on the first lap, then after that everything can turn out well. But I had no idea at all on what lap I would get to the 1st position, because in principle it is impossible to imagine.

Question: Do you think that after a week in Zandvoort you will no longer have such an advantage over Ferrari?
Max Verstappen: Yes, I don’t count on it. There is a different configuration of the track, you need a higher level of downforce, and there are fewer straight lines. Definitely, there the results will be more dense.

Question: You said that the first round was quite chaotic – tell us how it developed? Especially about those moments when you had to quickly react to something …
Max Verstappen: The first lap… You see, of course, I knew that we have a fast car, so I wanted to avoid unnecessary risk. And that made the task even more difficult. Various riders took off from the track, came back, while, of course, trying to protect their position. So I literally had to dodge other cars. But I didn’t want to waste too much time.

In addition, Lewis Hamilton was driving in front – I don’t know, apparently his car was damaged, but, in my opinion, he held everyone back. Someone, trying to get ahead of him, went off the track, and I preferred to take the inside trajectory, but in the end Lewis stopped on the side of the road – he, of course, did the right thing, but I had to move to the left.

In general, there was enough fuss, in addition, a lot of dirt was dragged onto the track, and I even had to tear off the protective film from the visor, because it was covered in dust, and I could hardly see anything. In the previous sector, almost all the cars were on grass or gravel, but we were still lucky – we overcame everything without damaging the car.

Q: Sergio Perez is famous for his ability to save rubber, but your first stint on Soft tires was longer than his first stint on Medium. How did you do it?
Max Verstappen: In my opinion, I always work well with tires, not only today. Maybe people didn’t pay attention to it. Everything is explained by understanding the characteristics of rubber, experience, the ability to select the optimal settings for the machine. Sometimes she reacts better, sometimes worse. For example, you can remember Austria, where we had difficulties, but we drew certain conclusions and tried to apply this experience.

Q: After winning the championship last year, you said that new titles would be a nice bonus. Judging by the way you performed in the Belgian Grand Prix, this year you managed to add significantly …
Max Verstappen: I think every year we become more experienced, however, in my opinion, it is impossible to compare the seasons. The cars have become completely different, they require a different approach to piloting, although I agree that now we are more competitive than we were at this stage of the championship a year ago. Naturally, this helps in the fight for victory.

You see, last year around this time, Mercedes were stronger than us. Of course, we won a few more victories, but they were not always related to the speed of the car – just the team always acted very effectively. However, I repeat: it is better not to compare the seasons.

Q: Can you tell us when you finish celebrating the victory in the Belgian Grand Prix and start preparing for the home race in Zandvoort?
Max Verstappen: To be honest, I’m already ready for Zandvoort. Of course, after the race we celebrate success, but then I go back home to Monaco and I’m not going to think too much about Formula 1 there. can be better. We believe that we are well prepared, but everything will become clear on Friday, when we start working on the track.

Question: The Belgian Grand Prix has remained on the calendar, and in 2023 it will again be held in Spa. Does it please you? And to what extent did the opinion of the riders influence this decision?
Max Verstappen: I hope it did, because Spa is my favorite track on the championship calendar. It’s just wonderful, especially if you’re driving a great car – that’s how it was in qualifying, and I enjoyed it a lot. Of course, I hope that we will come here every year, although the decisions are not made by me. And yet I am very glad that this race is included in the next year’s calendar.

Q: You were the youngest driver to make his debut in Formula 1 and became the youngest Grand Prix winner. Can you imagine continuing to win races 15 years from now? For example, Fernando Alonso continues to play in the championship at the age of 40…
Max Verstappen: In 15 years I will not be in the World Cup. I can’t imagine that I played until the age of 40 – at least in Formula 1. I would like to do other things. But for now, I intend to spend a few more years in F1.

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