‘Just Distracts You’ – Max Verstappen Tuning Out the Chatter of Being ‘Favorites’ Ahead of Season Opener

Published 03/26/2021, 9:12 AM EDT
MONTMELO, SPAIN: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during day one of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 18, 2019 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Much has been made of Red Bull F1’s perfect pre-season testing. The Milton Keynes-based outfit ended the tests with the most laps, topped the time sheets, and even avoided technical problems. This was in clear contrast to what their main rivals Mercedes had managed. All signs seem to point towards the fact that Red Bull could be ready to make a run for the title. However, the team’s ace driver Max Verstappen insists it is necessary to curb the enthusiasm.

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Certain people, even Mercedes themselves, have branded the Austrian team as favorites. However, the Dutchman is keen on tuning out the noise. He isn’t interested in any labels.

When asked why he didn’t want to hear people call Red Bull as favorites in Bahrain, He said, “It’s just because it doesn’t matter.

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Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen (the Netherlands) prepares to drive during the F1 demo run in Graz, Austria/ Samo Vidic / Red Bull Content Pool |REUTERS

“What matters is that you perform on track when it counts and when you can score the points. I think you just have to focus on your job and just stay calm, stay focused, because it just distracts you.”

Red Bull and Verstappen can scarcely afford to lose focus ahead of what could be a pivotal season. However, both entities will be happy to have some extra help in their title charge that comes in the form of new recruit Sergio Perez.

Max Verstappen speaks about working with Sergio Perez at Red Bull

The Dutchman seems to be gelling well with Checo. He has had no qualms with working alongside the Mexican yet. He hopes they can drive the team forward and dethrone Mercedes.

SUZUKA, JAPAN. Sergio Perez of Racing Point walks out for the drivers autograph signing session. F1 Grand Prix of Japan. Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“I know Checo now for many years here in the paddock. And now that we are team-mates, you get a bit more of an insight how Checo is working. And I think everything so far is running very smooth.

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“The feedback, we both are heading in the same direction, I hope it’s the right direction. It’s all going very smooth and it’s nice also to get a bit more of an insight from his side, from his past experiences in other teams. That’s always very good.

“I just hope as a team now we can really score a good amount of points and really put the pressure on Mercedes every single race weekend.”

Who will come out on top in Bahrain? Will Red Bull make a case for the title this weekend? Or will it be more of what we have grown used to from Mercedes? We shall find out soon.

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Max Verstappen Sends a Stern Warning to Red Bull F1 as He Calls Bluff to Mercedes’ Struggles

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Ronan Carvalho

1015 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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