Newly crowned world champion Max Verstappen says he is planning to enjoy racing in Formula 1 from 2022 onwards, and is putting no pressure on himself to build on his success.
The Dutchman beat Sir Lewis Hamilton to the title last season after a gripping year of astonishing racing, and passed the 37-year-old on the final lap to earn his maiden championship.
He took 10 race wins and 18 podiums in a marvellous year for the 24-year-old, who has now been tipped to add more F1 championships to his portfolio.
1978 world champion Mario Andretti affirms that Verstappen’s first championship is “huge,” and now believes that the Red Bull driver will be hungry for more.
“He fought so hard [for the championship] and now he probably relishes to try to repeat it. That’s what drives you, that’s what keeps you motivated. But at least he has that one under his belt, which is huge,” he told RacingNews365.
However, Verstappen is not specifically thinking about more championships, instead opting to simply see what awaits him in the future.
“Everything that comes now is just a bonus and I am just going to enjoy it,” he said in an interview with CarNext.
Hamilton has won seven titles with a combination of McLaren and Mercedes during his illustrious career, and is thus tied with Michael Schumacher as the most successful driver in history.
The Dutchman concedes that the circumstances of his own time in Formula 1 would need to be favourable were he to manage the same feat.
“You need a bit of luck to fight for seven or eight [championships]. You need a very dominant team as well to do that so you don’t always have that luck or you are not in that era,” he explained.
“Sometimes it doesn’t happen. For me, I always wanted to win one and you will see where you go from there.”
Verstappen affirms that he will be taking a slightly more laid-back approach now that he can officially call himself a world champion.
“Everything that comes now is a bonus but that doesn’t mean that if I lose a race… I will still be upset, but maybe a few minutes after I will say ‘it’s ok’.”
While the 24-year-old took his maiden championship victory in 2021, his Red Bull team narrowly missed out on their fifth Constructors’ Championship success as Mercedes claimed their record eighth-straight title.
Verstappen will remain alongside team-mate Sergio Perez this year, while his rival will be joined at the Silver Arrows by George Russell who has signed from Williams to replace the departing Valtteri Bottas.
The Finn has joined Alfa Romeo on a multi-year contract from 2022.