Max has done a trainwreck interview with De Telegraaf. It's in Dutch but I shamelessly nicked a translation off of reddit.
The title contender who walks around in Abu Dhabi quietly and in anonymity? Forget it. Wherever Max Verstappen goes, the photographers and camera crews are never far away. Yet the Red Bull driver also walks around the Yas Marina Circuit as if all those snoopers do not exist. Focused and relaxed at the same time.
In the run-up to the Formula 1 final, his team keeps away from him as much as possible. In a special Zoom meeting, Verstappen spoke to no fewer than sixty journalists. Then he frees himself from his television obligations only for De Telegraaf time for an exclusive interview. One on one, at the back of the Red Bull Racing hospitality area.
You have been in Dubai for a few days this week. Have you calmed down a bit?
“Yes, I do. I don't have much trouble with that anyway. Everything that happens on the track does not affect my state of mind once I am home or elsewhere. I celebrated my girlfriend's birthday and my sister became a mother for the second time. It was really nice to read those messages and see pictures of the little one.”
The whole of the Netherlands seems to be working on this race and a possible title. Do you get something out of that?
“Of course, I sometimes get something forwarded. It's really beautiful to see. At the same time, I also try not to read too much. That's why I don't get everything, but I think that works the best. Everyone is looking forward to the final, but I approach this Grand Prix just like any other race. I always say, "You can't force things." Everyone knows that I will do my best and that I will always go the extra mile. I realize that people in the Netherlands generally hope I win. That's pretty normal. In England that will also be the case for him.”
You don't pronounce "Lewis Hamilton" and "Mercedes" anymore, I notice.
"That's right. That happens during a season like this. Too much has happened for that.”
Is that because of the race at Silverstone, when you crashed hard after a touché with Hamilton?
“Not just through that moment, but throughout the season. The image I have of certain people has changed. And no, not in a positive way. It doesn't matter to me, it's not that I hate it. But I've seen that when the pressure comes on, certain people show a different face. Then the true nature emerges.”
Do you think Hamilton is afraid of you?
“He will never admit that. At least I'm not afraid of him. Yeah, I think I'll make him nervous if he sees me in his mirrors. He's a different driver than me, less aggressive. He doesn't know how to race like I do. I can't blame him for that either, because he was never able to learn that like I did from my father." An equal number of points for the last race is almost unique. But do you think you are the best driver?
“I think you should be like that if you're a Formula 1 driver. So I say yes, absolutely! But I don't need to hear that from anyone else. I don't need that recognition. I find it much more important what I think myself, and what the people who are close to me think. If I had been in his car, the season would have been decided long ago.”
At Mercedes they characterize you as a super-aggressive driver, who will do everything to eliminate Hamilton. Do they have a point?
“I don't want to take him out, I want to beat him. That's another wording. Some people find me aggressive, others very aggressive and some people don't. I think I am myself. The last games I have to defend more, because we are a bit slower. I don't have the luxury of checking a lead or driving away now. And yes, I do everything I can to win. If I don't think like that, I'd better stay home. If I hadn't had that attitude, we wouldn't be here with an equal number of points. Then he was already champion.”
Do you have the idea that the FIA motorsport federation would rather Hamilton take his eighth world title?
“If you look at certain decisions, at least I don't feel they are on my side. At the last race in Saudi Arabia I am penalized and other drivers don't even have to approach the stewards after a similar situation. Why is it suddenly different for me? With today's knowledge, that blowout in Baku (Verstappen missed a victory that seems certain, ed.) has been extremely painful. In Hungary I was kicked out by his teammate (Valtteri Bottas, ed.) and at Silverstone by himself. I lost a lot of points there.”
“In England he was given a 10-second time penalty, but won the race. Now the FIA is apparently also working on a possible crash, because suddenly it is pointed out that you as a driver can then get points deduction. I think that's ridiculous. Now and then not, as he drove into me on purpose. The hype about the equal number of points doesn't interest me either. I should have been champion by now. Let me say that I have not been happy with decisions that have been made.”
Who, besides yourself, do you wish a title the most?
“Anyone who has contributed even a little bit to this can claim it from me. Of course my father for a huge part. Thanks to him I am here. In addition to the team Helmut Marko and Christian Horner and my race engineer Gianpiero; but actually everyone within Red Bull has meant something to me. The Pex family has also been very important to me in the past. They are also present here in Abu Dhabi. If it would work, I think it would be great for them too.”
The man has lost his damn marbles.
I went into this season completely neutral. I just wanted Pierre Gasly to do well, and hopefully get a great matchup between Max and Lewis. Now I hope anyone named Verstappen never gets near the WDC trophy. Especially Jos.