Max doesn’t want to be next Schumacher

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen PA

Whilst the comparisons are nice, Max Verstappen has said he wants to be his own man, not the next Michael Schumacher.

The Dutchman secured his ninth Formula 1 win at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, putting in a dominant performance over Mercedes who until that race had been unstoppable in 2020.

It was arguably his most impressive career victory, and after the event F1 managing director Ross Brawn said in his column for the Formula 1 website that Verstappen’s performance “reminded him of Michael Schumacher in many ways”.

“I remember Max’s early days in Formula 1 where his speed was clear — he has now matured into an exceptional racing driver,” he added.

There is arguably no better person to make that comparison that Brawn, after all he was a key part of that relationship at Ferrari which saw Schumacher go on to win a record seven World Championships in his career.

But while Verstappen appreciates being talked about as a next Schumacher, really he just wants to be the one and only Max Verstappen.

“It was of course very nice but I don’t like to compare myself to anyone because I’m myself and I’m a different driver,” he told CNN.

“Of course, you can always get some similar attitudes or whatever, or you can get compared sometimes but, from my side, I never do that. I just want to be myself.”

Still only 22, Verstappen has gathered Formula 1 experience well beyond his years after debuting in 2015 when he was aged just 17.

And speaking about the ways he has changed in those five years, he said: “[I’m] more relaxed, more consistent and know how to build up a weekend and stuff like that.

“I just feel very comfortable … I’m a very relaxed person anyway so, for me, it was never really super high pressure, but I am more relaxed in a way that I know what’s coming.

“I have experienced a lot already so going to a weekend, I mean, I’m excited to be racing, but I don’t get excited a lot by other stuff surrounding it because you’ve experienced so many different emotions throughout the whole weekend and the year.”

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Of course winning is the ultimate aim in Formula 1, but it’s not the only thing that excites Verstappen.

“Winning is a good one,” he said.

“A good qualifying lap might excite me. Just being around the team and working with the mechanics, and also when they pull off a really good pitstop, it’s a great feeling as well.”

Verstappen goes into the Spanish Grand Prix in P2 in the Drivers’ Championship, 30 points behind Lewis Hamilton.

So, is his title challenge back on?

“So far we’ve had one race where we were, maybe, the fastest car, but all the other ones we weren’t, so we just have to stay realistic at the moment,” he admitted.

“From my side, I’m not thinking about a possible championship at the moment. I just want to try and do the best I can every single weekend.”

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