Max Verstappen’s stock in Formula One has definitely risen dramatically this season. He is the only driver to win a race this season outside of the Mercedes garage and his highlights have coincided with defensive drama’s this season.
The young Dutchman takes praise and criticism with a pinch of salt nonetheless and has admitted that he’d rather be a talking point than fading into the backdrop. The Red Bull driver said,
“I always consider it very positive when you are a talking point in F1. Whether this is negative or positive, it does not matter. As long as they talk about you, it’s a good thing. The attention does not really affect me. For me, the most important thing is to deliver on track and that’s what I’m focussing on.
My memories from the race in Malaysia last year are very positive. The weekend started off pretty difficult but we managed to turn it around… even in qualifying already (6th) and then in the race I did not have an easy start but from there on I enjoyed it.
There’s good racing on that track where the humidity is a bit harder on your body but that makes it also more interesting so I am looking forward to going back there.”
– Max Verstappen
Since joining Red Bull at the Spanish Grand Prix, Verstappen has finished higher than Daniel Ricciardo four times. The Aussie has finished ahead of his team-mate on seven occasions. The hype surrounding Verstappen is a mix of his potential as a driver and the criticism he’s received for some defensive manoeuvres.
Last season, Malaysia was the venue for Verstappen’s first ever points finish and he broke a record in doing so too, becoming the youngest driver in Formula One history to do so. It’s good that Verstappen is taking it in his stride as a point of focus and interest in the Formula One paddock as he will undoubtedly break a few more records in his Formula One career.