Why Verstappen 'won't have nightmares' if he suffers F1 title defeat

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has opened up on why he thinks winning a Formula 1 world title won't change his life, and why he 'won't have nightmares' if Lewis Hamilton beats him to the 2021 crown.

Why Verstappen 'won't have nightmares' if he suffers F1 title defeat

For most athletes becoming world champion in their discipline is a life changing event, the culmination of a lifetime of effort, focus and sacrifice.

While Verstappen has certainly been groomed from a young age by racing father Jos to get to the pinnacle of his discipline, the 24-year-old appears to have developed a surprisingly pragmatic mindset on future success.

At the Turkish Grand Prix the Dutchman, who is embroiled in a tense F1 title fight with Mercedes rival Hamilton, stated he was relaxed about the outcome of 2021, saying that "even if we would finish second, I think we’d still have had a great season. At the end of the day, it’s not really going to change my life."

Speaking exclusively to Autosport ahead of the US Grand Prix in Austin, Verstappen says the realisation that there is more to life than competing has helped form his cool outlook.

"To be honest, for some it does change your life but for me it doesn’t," Verstappen said during a visit to Red Bull fuel partner ExxonMobil, which runs a campus in nearby Houston.

"It is of course my goal, and I will always try to be the best I can be, but it’s not going to change my life in terms of how I live it or what I’m going to do afterwards.

"I see a lot of happy drivers or people who haven’t won a championship. I think whatever you do on track shouldn’t influence your personal life.

"At least I would not be a sore, sad person if I would never win a championship. I will have a lot of things I can also do after Formula 1.

"For me Formula 1 is one part of your life, but actually the most important is what is outside of Formula 1. Maybe [some] people don’t really know how to deal with that."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position, climbs out of his car in Parc Ferme

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position, climbs out of his car in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Part of his pragmatism also stems from the fact that F1 drivers are highly dependent on external factors on their quest for success, an unsurpassable reality he is already intimately familiar with.

Read Also:

He was widely tipped to become F1's youngest world champion after his record-breaking maiden win at the age of 18, at an unforgettable 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, but five years on the 2021 season has been his first genuine opportunity to challenge Hamilton and Mercedes, with Red Bull finally able to deliver the equipment to go head-to-head with F1's dominant force.

That allowed Verstappen to enter the final six races of 2021 with a slender six-point lead on the seven-time world champion, but he says he won't suffer nightmares if Hamilton ends up pipping him at the post.

"If I can say later on ‘I’ve won the world championship’ then great, is it amazing and something you dream of, but if it doesn’t materialise because of obvious reasons – where you didn’t have the right package to do so or it just didn’t click or you were unlucky, then so be it," he added.

"It’s not like I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night because of having nightmares about it.

"For me it will not change my life."

ExxonMobil Red Bull Racing graphic

ExxonMobil Red Bull Racing graphic

Photo by: ExxonMobil

shares
comments

Related video

Latifi will miss Russell as reference at Williams F1 in 2022
Previous article

Latifi will miss Russell as reference at Williams F1 in 2022

Next article

Alonso would back a third American F1 race

Alonso would back a third American F1 race
How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history Plus

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history

It’s 60 years since BRM achieved its goal and Graham Hill led the team to a world title double. But that was just part of the remarkable story of a unique team that at times overstretched its resources and had its fair share of disappointments

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Plus

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Plus

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2022
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Plus

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2022
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

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
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