'Max is using his head more', says Jos Verstappen

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing with his father Jos Verstappen (NLD). 23.11.2018.
© XPB 

Jos Verstappen says that his son Max is using his head more in races these days, although he still has to take risks if he's to measure up to rivals in faster cars than the Red Bull.

“I notice that Max is using his head more during the race itself and that he is taking less risks," the former Formula 1 driver told Ziggo Sport’s Peptalk programme in a telephone interview from Dubai on Monday.

"But regarding basic pace we fall short," Jos continued. "Then he needs to take risks every race for a podium finish. That is recurring every race.

"Max was forced to make a number of moves [on Sunday] for him to be able to get third place," he explained, saying that it was always a lot easier for race winner Lewis Hamilton who was able to start from pole position.

"[Hamilton] drives a much faster car and that makes it a bit more convenient if you are able to start from pole every race," he said. "He starts from pole and then wins the race, you don’t need to take such risks.

"That way, it’s easy to say that you are the better driver. For sure he also has the better car."

In the previous race in Brazil, Max clashed with Esteban Ocon which cost him a seemingly certain race win. The pair came together again in the season finale in Abu Dhabi, as Max sought to recover from a senor glitch at the start.

Fortunately this time there were lasting effects for either driver, with Max going on to clinch third place behing Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

"They were risky but I think they were just really good moves as well," Jos said of his son's overtaking this week. "I knew what Max was going to do because in that corner in the previous races, he also overtook the lot.

"He needs to do it in a corner where nobody expects it and that is actually the problem he’s been facing the entire year."

Overall, Jos said he was proud of his son's growth and improvement as a driver in 20188, especially considering a tough start to the year where frustation over technical reliability with the car that contributed to mistakes of his own.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates his third position on the podium.

"At the start of the season everything was going south," Jos admitted. "A few moves that don’t stick the way he wanted to, and the entire press corps trips over him.

"[But] Max has never been so well motivated, and was also tremendously well prepared this year," he added, going on to highlight a strong second half of the 2018 campaign.

"America was good. Russia was good as well. But Austria was also very important and good. Mexico was good, the same for Brazil and in Abu Dhabi he also did pretty well.

"But then you see that he has learned a great deal, and that he has been performing super at almost every race."

The only blot on his copybook in recent outings was the post-race altercation with Ocon in parc ferme at Interlagos, for which he will have to serve two days of as-yet to be defined 'community service'.

"I'm definitely not going to look like an idiot," Verstappen stated emphatically. "I believe they are already being very hard on me for this, so let's find something that is suitable for me to do."

"I think he's going to be making cups of tea for [FIA president] Jean [Todt]," quipped Verstappen's boss at Red Bull, Christian Horner.

Having finished outside the top three in this year's drivers championship, Verstappen was able to skip this year's FIA Gala award night, although he jokingly offered to attend if "maybe I can do it as a community service day".

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