Surprise source of Max Verstappen’s ‘destroy your team-mate’ aim revealed by former manager

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Only Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo have managed to outscore Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen’s desire to “destroy” his team-mate was inadvertently passed down to him by Michael Schumacher according to a former Toro Rosso manager.

Schumacher was a big character in the young life of Verstappen with his father Jos sharing a paddock with the seven-time World Champion at Benetton. The two families even went on a number of holidays together.

But it was the driving style of Schumacher that inadvertently made its way to Verstappen with his dad learning something from his former team-mate.

Where Max Verstappen’s team-mate killer trait came from

Verstappen has built a reputation for being somewhat of a team-mate killer with Sergio Perez currently feeling the heat but, as to how he learned that, well that reportedly goes back to Schumacher.

Former Toro Rosso manager Graham Watson said that Jos Verstappen was taught a valuable lesson alongside Schumacher.

“I think that Jos felt that Michael Schumacher had better material and was favoured,” he told Verstappen.com.

“I had the impression that Jos had difficulties accepting that, because he also was a very gifted driver.”

But while Jos may have struggled to accept it during his driving days, he later saw the belief behind Schumacher and imparted that wisdom to his son.

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Watson suggested that Benetton team principal Flavio Briatore gave Schumacher preferential treatment and decided his son must put himself in that position if he was going to be competitive.

“Flavio had a strong bond with Michael, both sporting-wise and personal,” he said.

“That’s why I think Jos imprinted on Max very early on, that the first thing that you have to do is destroy his teammates. And we have seen that in recent years.

“It has to be your team, you have to be the man around whom it revolves. I’m convinced that you now also see this with Max: first beat your team mate, then win the title.

“To this day, I don’t think that Jos got a fair treatment at Benetton. And that has partly ensured that Max understands that aspect of the sport very well: he does not need better equipment, he wants the same equipment, talent will do the rest.”

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