Max Verstappen says his calm and relaxed approach to his F1 race weekends often contrasts with his father Jos’ excitement and trepidation.
Former F1 driver Jos Verstappen taught his son everything he knew during his formative years in motorsport and mentored him from his days in karting all the way to his F1 debut at just over 17-years-old.
As a young teenager, Verstappen spent most of his time with his father on the road, touring Europe, traveling from circuit to circuit and successfully honing his skills in the fiercely disputed ranks of karting.
Verstappen senior carried during his motorsport career a bit of a reputation of a hot head and street fighter. But F1’s current championship leader isn’t really a chip off the old block. In his professional environment, the Red Bull charge’s character exudes calm and composure.
“I have always been like that,” Verstappen told the BBC’s Andrew Benson. “My dad sometimes was a bit worried that I couldn’t be bothered or I was too relaxed.
“But I said, ‘Dad, don’t worry, this is just the way I like it and how I approach to get into a race weekend or, like, my zone.’
“Up until F1, he was still worried about it, but he also could see that he couldn’t affect that bit of my preparation.
“Still nowadays my dad is more excited about starting the F1 weekend than I am. I get sent so many things, my dad asking questions about the weekend, and I am like, ‘I will find out when I get to the track.’
“At the end of the day, it is like that. I can tell you a 10-minute story about what I think, but 70% of the time it turns out different.
“So I prefer to save the energy and just say we’ll find out and see what happens. That’s how I approach it, at least. I’m pretty relaxed about it.”
Read also: Jos Verstappen reveals tell-tale sign Max ‘had something special’
Being groomed for stardom by a dedicated and determined father with an effusive character can often impose a heavy burden on a young teenager.
But Verstappen admits that he needed to be toughened up “in a lot of different ways, nice ways, and a bit more angry ways”, he says.
As he developed a single mind for racing, guided and spurred on by his dad, Verstappen side-stepped many of the diversions or amusements typically associated with one’s youth.
Yet he doesn’t feel he’s missed out on anything.
“It’s been all right,” he said. “People always ask me, ‘Do you miss out on stuff?’ And I say, ‘No, I don’t think so because my whole life is about racing and I love being at a race track, instead of being at a club like other 17-18 year olds going out all the time or going to study.
“I never wanted to do any of those things, especially not studying. I just wanted to focus on racing and winning. I am very happy with how the last few years went.”
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