Double F1 champion reveals how Max Verstappen’s risk-taking has changed

Max Verstappen broke Sebastian Vettel's and Michael Schumacher's joint record of most wins in a season in 2022.

2022 has very much been Max Verstappen’s year, with the Dutchman having dominated the championship from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix all the way to the season finale.

His second World Championship was won in emphatic fashion, with nobody having been capable of battling the 25-year-old on a consistent basis.

That just highlights the Red Bull star’s superiority over the entire field this year, with multiple records having been completely smashed by the World Champion.

In 2022, Verstappen broke the record for most wins in a single season, after the Dutch driver claimed 15 wins this year alone.

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This was two wins more than the previous record, which was jointly held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

As well as this, Verstappen broke the record for most points scored in a season, after accumulating 454 points this season.

Incredibly, fellow double World Champion Mika Hakkinen believes Verstappen can “absolutely” get even better, with his most recent title set to give him “even more confidence”.

“Winning the world championship [for the] first time gives you a great experience,” Hakkinen told Top Gear on Saturday.

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“Winning [a] second time, it gives you even more confidence to perform out there.

“You tend to make more risks, more calculated risks, you know that when you have achieved this championship you can do manoeuvres out there that you haven’t done before.”

With the Red Bull driver still being only in his mid-20s, Hakkinen believes the likes of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are living proof that Verstappen isn’t the finished article yet because of his age.

The Finn expects Verstappen to look into how he can further improve over the winter break and make further “very tiny” steps towards becoming a better driver.

“I think it’s a natural procedure,” the Finn explained, “that when we all wake up in the morning, we never feel like ‘Today I’m gonna be worse than yesterday’. And we learn from our mistakes. We want to improve, whatever it is.

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“When you are in Formula 1, your steps improve… they’re very tiny. And you can then look very carefully and say ‘There!’ You can be better’. And that’s where you have to focus. Constantly. You can be better every day if you want.

“Sometimes you tend to put 10 things on paper and try to improve yourself, and I think that’s not good, because you’re putting yourself under pressure. The small things are better, finer things, every day. Because this life is quite a long journey anyway.

“Those little things matter long-term, and racing drivers? Same thing. You need to find solutions, and improve those little things. It’s good fun.

“But it’s very often when you’re a world champion, you tend to look like ‘I’m perfect. I don’t [need to] improve’. But it’s not true. You need to continuously [be] looking how you can improve, and I’m sure that Max is doing that.”