Questions over Max Verstappen raised with ‘rose-tinted glasses’ accusation

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen, Red Bull. F1 news

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen celebrates.

F1 commentator Peter Windsor believes Max Verstappen is being viewed with “rose-tinted glasses” due to his 2023 dominance – and is fascinated to see how he would respond under pressure again.

Having secured his third World Championship at last month’s Qatar Grand Prix, Verstappen has cemented his place among the greatest drivers in F1 history.

The Red Bull driver has won 42 of the last 64 races stretching back to the start of his maiden title-winning season in 2021, claiming 17 this year alone.

Has Max Verstappen matured since defeating Lewis Hamilton in F1 2021?

Two more victories in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi would see Verstappen pass Sebastian Vettel for third in the all-time list of grand prix winners, with only seven-time World Champions Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton left ahead of him.

Speaking via a recent YouTube stream, Windsor has praised Verstappen as a “very good” World Champion for F1, but wonders how the 26-year-old would respond if taken out of his current comfort zone.

He said: “I do think he has matured. We’re seeing him through rose-tinted glasses this year because there’s not much for him to be upset about, let’s face it.

“We don’t really know what the new, mature 2023 Max would be like if he was massively under pressure and there were two races to go and he was 27 points behind [Sergio] Perez in the Championship or something like that. Maybe we’d be seeing a different Max.

“But it’s not to detract from the way he is. He doesn’t say that much anymore and he’s just calm and gets on with the job and doesn’t want to get involved with too much – and I think that’s wonderful and it’s good to see.

“He’s always good in those pre-race things. He doesn’t have a headset on when they’re trying to play the national anthem, he doesn’t fidget. He’s calm, he’s respectful and he does a good job after the race.

“He doesn’t want to say too much, doesn’t want to give too much away. And when he explains something and then the interviewer asks him exactly the same question about what he’s just been explaining, he doesn’t say: ‘Well, I’ve just said that’ – he’s nice to the interviewer and repeats it all.

“I think he’s very good World Champion in terms of representing the sport. It’s not to say Lewis wasn’t either – I think Lewis was and still would be and I think Charles Leclerc would be – but I think Max has matured.

“Of course he’s matured, because he was so young when he was first successful and he’s been around a long time now in Formula 1 racing terms.”

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Verstappen has been frequently heard bickering with race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase in 2023, airing his occasional frustrations over team radio.

Windsor believes the fact that most of Verstappen’s complaints centre around cockpit comfort confirm that the 26-year-old is a ‘feel’ driver.

He explained: “I think he’s brilliant – and he handles the team well. He occasionally gets a bit wild on the radio, gets a bit annoyed: ‘What is this rubbish I’m having to deal with?’

“It’s interesting. Most of it is cockpit-related stuff. I’m not sure we hear all the radio broadcasts, but we certainly do hear Max complaining more about cockpit-comfort things – whether it’s some buffeting he’s getting under the helmet or it’s something around his legs or something on his back or something doesn’t feel right – because he’s such a ‘feel’ driver.

“It’s as simple as that. He’s a joy to watch. And to me that puts into context this stuff about [the idea that] we’ve got to have these massive dramas and overtaking to make Formula 1 worthwhile.

“The reality is just watching Max Verstappen, for me, is almost enough really. Almost, not quite, but he’s really good to watch.”

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