Max Verstappen is not allowing himself to be distracted by what is being said in the press, focused only on winning the Saudi Arabian GP.
Verstappen arrived at the Jeddah Corniche circuit for the penultimate grand prix of the season holding an eight-point advantage in the Drivers’ standings.
But for every pundit backing the Red Bull driver to win a first World title, there’s one who is convinced it will be heading back to Brackley with Lewis Hamilton.
Such is the rhetoric coming from the media that Christian Horner recently said of former driver turned Sky Sports’ pundit Damon Hill: “We’ve got a British driver going for a record-breaking World Championship, and Damon obviously has never been a fan of Max.”
But, he acknowledged, “if you talk to the Dutch then Max can walk on water. You know, sometimes impartiality does get lost.”
Verstappen is not letting any of that distract him, revealing he’s not reading the good stories, or the bad ones.
“I’ve always been very neutral, not reading too many positive or negative things,” he said ahead of the Saudi Arabian weekend.
“In general, [I try] not to read too many things and be busy with other things I like.
“I come to the weekend and I focus on F1. I do my things off-track, like preparing on the simulator, but then I’m also busy with other stuff so I think that helps a lot.”
Completed my first lap around Jeddah ✅ Will go faster tomorrow 🚀 #SaudiArabianGP 🇸🇦 pic.twitter.com/Y80HWKd0u5
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) December 2, 2021
The 24-year-old has enjoyed his battle with Hamilton in this year’s championship, the two protagonists finishing 1-2 in 12 of 20 grands prix.
“Fighting against Lewis, in general, has been good for the sport,” said Verstappen. “It’s a young guy against the established World Champion, multiple World Champion, and I think it’s just very exciting.
“And for me at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you’re fighting against someone who’ my age or a World Champion, you know both of them are great drivers.
“Some might have had a bit more luck, in general, to be in a good car for a longer time but that doesn’t take away that they’re a great driver and yes, we always try to beat each other, of course.
“But I think so far it’s been a really cool season.”
After years of sitting behind Mercedes, he’s happy to be racing against them this season.
“It’s just been of course a great year for us,” he said. “We had a lot of good moments and it’s more enjoyable. Last year was pretty boring for me because basically all the time I was just in third… so there wasn’t much happening for me.
“In a way it’s not how you like to race but that sometimes happens when one team is of course very dominant, and that’s why I think this year we turned it around well, we improved the car, and to be in this title fight to the end I think is very impressive from our side.
“And of course, I’ll try to keep enjoying the last two races. It doesn’t matter where we end up; we’ve had a really, really good season as a team,” added Verstappen who could wrap up the title this weekend, should the stars align in his favour.
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