Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen looks back at the high and low points of his title season and reveals what made him a better driver
The dramatic Formula 1 title battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, which stretched all the way to the 2021 season finale, sometimes almost makes you forget how consistent and at times dominant the world champion actually was throughout the year. Ten wins and poles, 652 leading laps and 18 podiums to his credit.
It’s not surprising that Verstappen struggles when asked about his highlights of the season: “Difficult. Quite a few,” says the Red Bull driver.
But he does name a few: “Winning Monaco was very nice, after the difficult times I had there, by myself, but also by unfortunate moments. Two wins in Austria, my home win in Zandvoort, and I think of course the crazy outcome of the last race was also a highlight. “
The Dutchman’s main low point is the British Grand Prix, where he slammed into the track barrier after a collision with Hamilton. “Sitting in hospital all evening and being examined, that was definitely the low point. Because you don’t want to be there. “
He also has fond memories of Baku, where Verstappen was cruising towards a certain victory until his tyre blew. “Baku was not nice. But those are the moments that make you a better driver in the end,” the world champion insists.
“People start to doubt you and there was also criticism. But I think you learn in those moments that you have to keep believing in yourself and your own beliefs and be a strong person.”
Asked about the intensity of the season, Verstappen admits it took everything out of him: “I think the quality in general was very high, especially from me and Lewis of course. We pushed each other to the limit every time. There were some pretty tough races, physically as well. “
“You were driving on the limit the whole time. There was no lap to rest. And throughout the weekend – qualifying, race – it was so important to always try to be perfect, which is very important in Formula 1,” he affirms.
“A tiny mistake can make the difference between P1 and P2, and in the championship we had, that was huge. The level of concentration was very high. “
In the end, this also spurred him on to new heights of performance: “I gained new experiences and once again learned more about myself – fortunately. But luckily you can always improve, that’s for sure. “