Max Verstappen downplays Michael Schumacher comparisons



CNN

After a stunning victory in the 70th anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has said that while he appreciates being compared to F1 great Michael Schumacher, he is his own man.

F1 CEO Ross Brawn recently compared the 22-year-old to Schumacher in his formula1.com column.

“He reminds me of Michael Schumacher in a lot of ways,” Brawn said of the Dutchman, before adding: “I remember Max’s early days in Formula 1 where his speed was clear – now he’s become a driver of exceptional racing”.

Speaking to CNN’s Amanda Davies, Verstappen said: “Of course it was very nice, but I don’t like to compare myself to anyone because I’m myself and I’m a different driver.

“Of course, you can always have similar attitudes or whatever, or you can compare yourself sometimes, but for me, I never do. I just want to be myself.”

At 17 and 166 days, Verstappen became the youngest driver in F1 history when he competed at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix. Over the years, he said, he has matured as a driver.

“[I’m] more relaxed, more consistent and knowing how to prepare a weekend and things like that,” he added.

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

“I’ve been through a lot, so going into a weekend, I mean, I’m excited to compete, but I’m not really excited about other things around it because you’ve experienced a lot of different emotions throughout it all. the head of week and year”.

The Dutch driver’s victory at Silverstone was the ninth of his career, but crossing the finish line still thrills him.

“Winning is good,” he said. “A good qualifying lap can get me excited. Just being around the team and working with the mechanics, and also when they get a really good pit stop, that’s a great feeling as well.”

Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Verstappen finished ahead of Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas in sweltering conditions last Sunday.

Heading into this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Verstappen sits second in the drivers’ championship standings, 30 points behind world champion Hamilton.

But such has been Mercedes’ dominance so far this 13-race season (the team leads second-placed Red Bull in the constructors’ standings by 67 points), the Red Bull driver did not expect to mount a title challenge in the remaining eight. racing

“So far we’ve had one race where maybe we were the fastest car, but not all the others, so we just have to be realistic for now,” said Verstappen, speaking from Barcelona.

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

READ: Susie Wolff says Lewis Hamilton’s criticism of F1 is ‘absolutely valid’

The 2020 F1 season kicked off in July at the Austrian Grand Prix, four months later than planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the restart, drivers have joined F1’s ‘We Race As One’ initiative to fight racism and promote equality and inclusion.

But Verstappen is one of several drivers choosing not to kneel before races in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Post on Twitter before the first race, he said: “I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe that everyone has the right to express themselves (sic) at the time and in the way that suits them. Today I will not put the knee, but I will respect and support the personal decisions that each driver makes.”

F1 drivers support Black Lives Matter movement ahead of British Grand Prix.

Hamilton, the sport’s first and only black world champion in its 70-year history, has been critical of the sport, saying there has been a lack of leadership in the fight against racism.

Five races into the season, Verstappen said that while the campaign is going well, more needs to be done.

“It has gone well in terms of how we are expressing it, but, of course, at the end of the day it is also about actions. We continue to show our support, because I think everyone supports it, which is very important, and time will tell, of course, what will happen,” he said.

Asked if he and the other drivers have spoken to Hamilton about the campaign, Verstappen said: “Of course we do. We have our driver briefings, but we also stay, of course, because we are all members of the GPDA ( Association of Grand Prix Drivers).

“Everybody’s very open and everybody’s very supportive and everybody wants the exact same thing. I think Lewis appreciates that, and not just Lewis has to appreciate that, but the whole world. That’s what we’re doing, we’re just trying to show the our support”.

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