Column Max: Being controversial is not a goal

With his fourth place in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Max Verstappen finished the season in fifth place in the overall classification. He is satisfied with what was a turbulent season and can’t wait for the next:

“I think the fourth place in Abu Dhabi this weekend was the most I could achieve there. When I was last after the first turn, I said to myself ‘here we go again.’ I decided to just go for it and start playing catch-up, just like in Brazil. It’s definitely nice that it worked out again.

For sure, I look back on the previous season with pride. The best moment, of course, was my victory in Spain. I was driving in the Red Bull car for the first time, and saw the Grand Prix race as a learning experience. Because of that, I didn’t feel a lot of pressure. It was absolutely amazing that I won. I knew that I could do it, but it was very nice to immediately prove it to everyone.

When you race for a top team, you find yourself in the spotlight more. One week I was a dangerous madman who should be in an institution; the next week I was the new Ayrton Senna. I try not to listen to both extremes. It’s not my goal to be controversial. I just race the way I am, and luckily, many fans enjoy that. Other people don’t like it as much, but that’s their problem.

When I switched from Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing in May, I was tenth in the overall classification. That I am closing the season in fifth position is definitely nice. I don’t really mind that I wasn’t able to overtake Sebastian Vettel and finish fourth. In the end, there is only one place that truly counts, and that’s the number one spot.

During the season, we had an incredibly busy program, with racing, training, travelling and events. As a result, you don’t have a lot of time for yourself, your family and friends, so it will be nice to have more time over the coming months. Although I do miss the adrenaline of racing.

2017 will be the first year that I drive a top car for the whole season. Due to the broader tires and the new aerodynamics, the setup of the car will completely change. To compete for the title, we also need additional speed on the straights. Hopefully, the team will succeed in creating a car with which we can seriously compete for the prizes. I’m already looking forward to it for sure!”



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