Max Verstappen would rather win by ‘at least 20 seconds’ than fight wheel to wheel

Thomas Maher
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen will race an updated RB20 in Imola

Max Verstappen says he gets more satisfaction from dominance than coming out on top in a close fight with a rival.

The Dutch driver has got used to winning races by very comfortable margins over the last two years, with himself and Red Bull a clear step ahead of everyone else on the grid.

Max Verstappen: I enjoy big-margin wins a lot more

Having spent the years up between 2016 until the end of 2021 having to fight extremely hard for every single victory, with his Red Bull never a clear step ahead of the other cars, the dominance of the Red Bull/Verstappen combination has been devastating since the start of the ground effect regulations.

Verstappen has won 38 of the last 50 Grands Prix, and the reigning World Champion opened up on the nature of his ideal wins as he spoke to Sky F1 during the Miami Grand Prix weekend.

Asked whether he prefers to come out on top of a tense to-the-chequered-flag duel with an equally-matched rival, or simply to crush all before him with wins of 20-second advantages, Verstappen smiled.

“At least 20 seconds!” he said.

“That’s for me… I’ve raced so much in my life in close combat. I enjoy a lot more if we can actually nail the car and are 100 percent sure that we can win by a big margin but, of course, that’s not what fans want to hear but I am honest, you know?

“I’m here to win and I’m here to create my own success.”

With all sorts of rumour and conjecture about his future in F1, particularly over whether he’ll remain with Red Bull to see out his contract until the end of 2028, Verstappen said he no longer has any goals he wants to achieve in the category.

“Well, not anymore in Formula 1,” he said.

“In F1, for me, it’s about just trying to stay where I am at the moment and, of course, trying to win more because I have achieved already everything that I wanted to achieve in the sport.

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Verstappen has made it clear he’d like to tackle other prestigious races, such as the Le Mans 24 Hours – and the endurance discipline in general – and said he’d have to have things fall his way perfectly to achieve a record-breaking eighth world championship to become the most successful driver in the history of the sport.

“I want to do all different kinds of racing outside of F1 at one point so I definitely won’t be here until I’m 40 years old,” he said.

“I’d have to keep on winning until 2028, so we’ll have a look!”

Verstappen has lost two of the first six races of 2024, with Red Bull already defeated more than they were during the entirety of 2023 – a brake issue in Australia cost Verstappen a chance at finishing the race, while he was beaten by McLaren’s Lando Norris in Miami after a Safety Car intervention compromised his strategy.

But Verstappen said the fact he still cares about being beaten shows that he still has the love for F1 to stick around for a while yet.

“I get annoyed, of course, when it’s things that we could have prevented,” he said.

“I think it’s good that I still get annoyed at it. Because if I don’t get annoyed at it, it means that I don’t care.

“When you don’t care, you don’t give 100 percent anymore. I think that’s where you start questioning yourself, do I want this?

“I like winning. I like being on top, I like working with all the great people that we have in the team. Always trying to just be as close as possible to perfection, I think that is what really motivates me.”

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