Verstappen: 'Never straightforward' to meet fans' home F1 GP expectations

Max Verstappen says it was "never straightforward" to meet the expectations of the Dutch Formula 1 fans at Zandvoort, but he remained "very focused" to win his home grand prix.

Verstappen: 'Never straightforward' to meet fans' home F1 GP expectations

Verstappen scored a dominant victory in Sunday's Dutch Grand Prix to move back into the lead of the F1 drivers' championship, keeping title rival Lewis Hamilton at bay throughout the race.

Red Bull ran a two-stop strategy and reacted to both of Mercedes' attempts to undercut Verstappen with Hamilton, clinching him a popular victory in front of over 70,000 fans in the first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985.

Verstappen got out of his car to roars of support from the grandstands after the race, and was draped in a Dutch flag on the top step of the podium as the national anthem rang out.

"I know the fans always have high expectations when you come here," Verstappen said.

"They of course want you to win, but it's never that straightforward before you get here.

"I think you have seen this whole year already, when Mercedes and us have been really close to each other, and yeah, [you have] to deliver at the end of the day.

"Of course I'm very satisfied already with pole, but then also to win the race… What was crucial today was first of all the start, and then throughout the race, just managing that gap that they couldn't undercut us.

"But an incredible feeling of course to win in front of the fans, but also the King was watching with the family. Just an amazing day."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, wears a Dutch flag as a cape on the podium

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, wears a Dutch flag as a cape on the podium

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

But Verstappen said he had been able to stay "very focused" amid the added media commitments and duties throughout his home race weekend.

"I know that I have to focus on the driving," Verstappen said.

"That has been quite straightforward but of course naturally there are more distractions, especially when you are on the grid and drive out, there is more of a crowd.

"I think we are professional enough to just focus on our job once we are in the car."

Mercedes was surprised by Red Bull's decision to move Verstappen onto the hard tyre for the third stint of the race, having hoped the team would attempt a long run on softs.

Hamilton lurked within two seconds of Verstappen at points during Sunday's race, but he was never close enough to attempt a move.

"The whole race, it was quite close between myself and Lewis," Verstappen said.

"He was really putting the pressure on, keeping, he was putting some great laps.

"I think also after the final stop, I think at one point on that medium tyre, and I was on the hard tyre. But luckily it was enough in the end.

"72 laps around here pushing, it was satisfying. Yeah, it was cool."

shares
comments

Related video

Bottas' F1 Dutch GP fastest lap attempt "cheeky but understandable"
Previous article

Bottas' F1 Dutch GP fastest lap attempt "cheeky but understandable"

Next article

Steiner: No-one to blame for Mazepin-Schumacher F1 Dutch GP incident

Steiner: No-one to blame for Mazepin-Schumacher F1 Dutch GP incident
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022