Max Verstappen has risen in stature and reputation since his debut for Toro Rosso as a 17-year-old. His driving style has since become more matured, and he is now able to pressure opponents ahead of him with a fiercely fast Red Bull car.
But the one thing Verstappen continues to rely on with his racing is the skill of intuition. He revealed that it was his father Jos Verstappen’s teachings that have laid the foundation for his understanding.
Max said, “It’s what you practice already in go-karting.
“Of course, you didn’t have wings, but you can simulate different type of things, right? That’s what my dad [taught]: sometimes he would send me out, he would change something [on the kart], but he wouldn’t tell me what, and then I had to feel what it was doing.”
“And that’s how we get a good understanding of new parts coming onto the car. But he also told me: ‘if you don’t feel anything, don’t say anything; don’t lie.”
F1 drivers often assist the team in getting out the latest sets of upgrades and so, the feedback there becomes quite an integral component. This is possibly where Verstappen’s intuition comes in handy as he translates his experience with the car on the track to the team.
Verstappen continued, “To be honest, if they would stick a new front wing on, I don’t need to look at the data to confirm. I go out, understeer, oversteer, whatever it does, more mid-corner grip, or whatever, then the data is just for them to look at to confirm what I said.”
“I don’t need to open my laptop to say: ‘oh no, it actually did that’. That would be wrong,” concluded Max on the subject.
The Dutchman almost closed in on Valtteri Bottas’ eventual position of P2 in the Drivers’ standings. Max even suffered a few misfortunes in terms of his retirements, which could very easily have translated into podiums and even wins.
His majestic win at the 2020 Abu Dhabi GP, though, could well be a starting point for him to start strongly in the 2021 campaign. With better luck and an enhanced car, then, we could well see Max emerge to become a genuine title contender alongside Hamilton and Bottas.