In an exclusive interview with De Telegraaf, Formula 1 sensation Max Verstappen has discussed his unshakable self-belief, recounting his journey to the top of the sport.
Despite formidable competition from Lewis Hamilton in 2021 and Charles Leclerc in 2022, Verstappen maintained his steadfast conviction in his own abilities to take his first two titles.
This year, having experienced an early challenge from his own teammate Sergio Perez, Verstappen has now built up a 125 point lead, almost guaranteeing he will lift the trophy for a third consecutive year.
In a candid conversation with De Telegraaf, Verstappen delved into his belief in himself, stating, “That’s how you should always think as a driver, in my opinion.
“Otherwise, you’ll never be successful. Even if you’re not the best driver, you still have to exude that confidence and believe in yourself.
“For example, I would never admit that I’m not the best in the paddock.”
When probed about moments of doubt, Verstappen firmly stated, “I’ve never asked myself the question: ‘Am I really as good as I think I am?'”
He acknowledged that challenges do arise, recounting a trying phase in the early part of the 2018 season, marked by unfortunate incidents and media scrutiny.
“Sometimes, it doesn’t all come together perfectly, there are some unlucky moments, and maybe you try to push too hard.
“That was the case at the beginning of 2018,” Verstappen candidly admitted.
Reflecting on the tumultuous 2018 season, Verstappen shared his perspective on overcoming setbacks.
Despite initial struggles and controversies, including a limited points tally after the Monaco Grand Prix, Verstappen managed to turn the tide.
He recalled, “I remember well that after the Monaco Grand Prix, I pressed the reset button.
After that, I thought: I don’t care about anything and let’s just start anew. Since the next race in Canada, things have also gone well.”
Verstappen attributed some of his frustration during that time to media inquiries about his driving style and form.
He explained, “I got really frustrated with those silly questions back then about my driving style and form. And you end up giving a silly answer in return.”
As the Dutch Grand Prix approaches, Verstappen will be keen to continue his dominant streak, putting on a show for his home fans.
However, Red Bull could face a challenge from the surging McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri who were taking the fight to Red Bull before the summer break.