Dutchman Max Verstappen said his opponent’s reference to the 2021 F1 title to the possibility that his first fight for the F1 title could affect his performance shows that he “really doesn’t know it”.
Speaking on the eve of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, two weeks after his controversial accident at Monza, Hamilton said: “I remember what it was like when I competed for the title for the first time and the pressure definitely increases.”
The Mercedes driver said that given Verstappen’s position as a first-time title contender, he had “sympathy and understanding” that he “had a lot of emotions with McLaren in 2007, and that he didn’t always handle the situation in the best way then.” “. “.
When Motorsport.com asked him if he had any answers to what Hamilton had to say when it was his turn at the official press conference before the Sochi race, Verstappen said: “These comments … I mean, show that you don’t really know me. “
“It’s okay. You don’t need to know, I mean what it is.”
“But I focus on myself, I enjoy running ahead and of course I hope we can continue for a long time.”
Verstappen’s career advanced rapidly in the junior racing categories, which meant he didn’t have a car challenging the title after completing his first and only single-seater season at the 2014 F3 European Championships, when he finished third behind of his future Formula One rival. , Esteban Ocon, after joining the Queen class at the age of 17 with Toro Rosso.
He was promoted to Red Bull’s top team after four races in 2016 and won his first team race in Spain, but the 2021 season is considered his first chance to fight for the title.
Regarding the heated battle for his first F1 title, Verstappen, who became world karting champion before being promoted to F3, told Motorsport.com earlier this year that junior racing classes top F3 “are the same. You almost have to choose your battles.”
The Dutchman said he feels very calm in the face of the new challenge he faces in 2021.
He joked, “I’m not so nervous I can hardly sleep! It’s horrible to compete for the title, I really hate it!”
“If anyone really knows me, I think I’m very comfortable with all of these things and I’m not really upset,” he added.
“I’m very relaxed and that’s the best feeling when you have a big car that you go to every weekend and you fight for victory. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the top of the championship or not.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Photography: Motorsport Pictures