The lineups had been decided prematurely: Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez versus Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Eric Almirola in a pit cease competitors at ExxonMobil headquarters.
When it got here time to loosen after which tighten a set of lug nuts, Verstappen reaffirmed that his calling was contained in the race automotive.
“I think I realized I’m not a good guy for the pit box,” Verstappen mentioned.
“It’s better if I drive the car.”
Verstappen and Perez, like most F1 drivers within the paddock, have been on a whirlwind tour of the nation forward of this weekend’s US Grand Prix on the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
The globetrotting sequence is again in North America for the primary time since 2019 because the pandemic led to cancellations in Austin, Mexico City and Montreal final 12 months.
Now again in Texas for the ninth time, F1 has a brand new championship chief in Verstappen who could also be considerably unknown to the American fanbase.
Former F1 driver Jos Verstappen’s 24-year-old son is lastly in a breakout season “he has seven career victories so far” and is difficult Lewis Hamilton to greater than seven-time champions. Time.
Verstappen has a six-point lead over Hamilton, with six races remaining in a tense title battle that has swung backwards and forwards all season.
Hamilton, who received 4 consecutive titles, final confronted a good problem in 2016, when Nico Rosberg completed the season to win the championship by 5 factors over his Mercedes teammate.
Hamilton misplaced the championship by one level to Kimi Rikkönen in his 2007 rookie season, then received his first title the next 12 months by defeating Felipe Massa by the identical margin.
This season’s push by Verstappen has given F1 certainly one of its most enjoyable title races in years. And but Verstappen stays a thriller in America, partly as a result of he has chosen to not take part within the standard Netflix “Drive to Survive” documentary that has captivated American racing followers.
“I understand it needs to be done to boost popularity in America,” Verstappen informed the Associated Press forward of Sunday’s race.
“But on my side as a driver, I don’t like being a part of it.”
Verstappen mentioned that whereas he was interviewed on the present’s first season, the quotes had been later utilized to conditions he wasn’t discussing and “they would fake a lot of things.”
“They faked some rivalry that doesn’t really exist,” he mentioned.
“So I decided not to be a part of it and don’t give any more interviews after that because then you can’t show anything. I am not really a dramatic show type of person, I just want facts and real things.”
So are Verstappen and Hamilton even rivals?
“Maybe we’ll be on the Netflix show,” he mentioned.
“We bumped into each other once while we were walking, so maybe that’s where it will be.” Truth be informed, although, Verstappen would not look after the limelight and his focus solely turns to the perfect season of his profession. Half Belgian and half Dutch, he runs below the Dutch flag, as does his father, and was groomed for this job his whole life.
His rise below the strict steering of his father is nicely documented, with “Jose the Boss” pushing his son onerous as a younger Carter and making a ferocity that he used this season in Hamilton. Struggled with.
“He knew what it took to be a Formula One driver and he always prepared me to be up for it from a very young age,” Verstappen mentioned.
“I think our family puts a lot of focus on what we do and I grew up with that way, but it also takes away a little bit of the stress and makes it very straightforward.” Although he at present lives in Monaco and dates Brazilian mannequin Kelly Piquet, who’s the daughter of three-time F1 champion Nelson Piquet, Verstappen claims to steer a quiet, considerably personal life.
“I’m just a normal guy and I grew up in a small town,” Verstappen mentioned.
“All this stuff, drama, this isn’t my factor. This shouldn’t be my world.”
And but this title battle with Hamilton is stuffed with drama. The two have crashed into one another’s race twice to this point this season, and Red Bull boss Christian Horner accused Hamilton of constructing a “desperate move” on the opening lap of Silverstone, which knocked Verstappen out of the race .
Verstappen was despatched to hospital after that accident, the place he collided with a tire barrier, broke his seat at Red Bull and induced an estimated $1.8 million in damages.
In his dustup at Monza, the 2 races wheel-to-wheel made contact and Verstappen’s automotive sped over Hamilton and landed on the Mercedes.
Verstappen mentioned he tries to maintain the back-and-forth between Red Bull and Mercedes as a result of he can solely management his efficiency.
In Austin, he would run a circuit the place Hamilton would have a particular benefit. Hamilton has received 5 of the eight races held on the everlasting street route, whereas Verstappen has scored two podiums in 5 journeys and solely as soon as forward of Hamilton in 2018, when he completed second.
“I’m pretty relaxed to be honest. I know it’s a tough fight, but at the end of the day I can’t do more than my best, so I try to dress up the best way I can and enjoy it.” ,” Verstappen mentioned.
“How many instances have you ever been in a championship battle, I do not know what number of instances it is going to be.
“Of course we’re in the lead of the championship, with six races to go, it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be tough, but I always try to do my best.”
With inputs from TheIndianEXPRESS