“It’s unbelievable for me that he doesn’t even make the smallest mistake under this enormous pressure,” says Helmut Marko about Max Verstappen, who will defend the Formula 1 title with Red Bull in 2022. The racing team’s advisor is convinced of the development of the Dutchman, in which the latest experiences would play an important role.
The 24-year-old is currently in first place in the overall standings and already has a 46-point lead over his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Pérez. At the beginning of the season Ferrari seemed to be able to keep up with the red bulls, but Verstappen has already pulled away. Lewis Hamilton has massive problems with Mercedes and is therefore currently not playing a role in the title fight.
Verstappen has always shown in the past how talented he is, but small mistakes have always thrown him back. Since beating Hamilton in the 2021 season, the Dutchman seems very settled. The Red Bull pullers agree that experience makes the difference. “That makes him a complete driver,” says team manager Christian Horner.
Verstappen stays cool under pressure
In Canada, Verstappen didn’t give up a meter under pressure against Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari and ultimately won by a margin of 0.993 seconds. Marko compares the situation with Barcelona 2016, but the Ferrari was not as fast and Verstappen was not as experienced as now.
“Especially in the second sector, the Ferrari was faster than us, but he still managed it. Sainz made two or three small mistakes in the hairpin, but staying cool under pressure is really very impressive,” said Marko. Team boss Horner also agrees, who also only has words of praise for the 24-year-old.
“He’s had some great races under pressure over the past year,” said Horner. “All we have to think about is Austin and so on. He’s just so good under pressure. We’ve seen it a lot this year too: Miami, Baku and so on. He just has more experience.” In the 2022 season, Verstappen has won six out of nine races so far, which is why he clearly leads the overall standings.