In what many Formula 1 fans would have thought was counter intuitive, Max Verstappen says he wants to turn Formula One races into boring processions, believing that controlling a race from the front to claim a dominant victory is better than having to fight for it.
Verstappen dominated the recent Mexican Grand Prix – to the point where Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner believed Verstappen got “bored” – but the Dutchman says he much prefers winning that way.
“Yes, because this is winning – and I think this is the most beautiful way of doing it,” Verstappen told motorsport.com. “Of course, overtaking is fun. But in recent years I’ve never been in a position that I could control races.
“But this is what I did in karting, actually, and in the end this is what you want to do. Overtaking is definitely nice, but to me it’s not something that’s necessary.
“Ultimately you want to win races like [Lewis] Hamilton and eventually win a championship.”
Of Verstappen’s three grand prix victories, his latest was the most comfortable, the other two coming earlier this year in Malaysia where Verstappen had to overtake Lewis Hamilton for the lead and in 2016 at the Spanish Grand Prix where Verstappen was under enormous pressure from behind throughout the race.
Asked how he rated the Mexico win, he said: “This is certainly one of my favourite ones of course, because you not only won the race, you also controlled it, without any pressure from behind.
“I hope that we will be in the same position next year. From the very first race.”
Verstappen has been both hailed and criticised for his often aggressive racing instinct but speaking specifically of his opening lap move on Sebastian Vettel in Mexico, Verstappen insists that he had no plan on how to attack the opening corners and that it all comes naturally in the moment.
“I totally did not think about it beforehand,” he said. “I haven’t even watched back the races of the last few years to see what happened there. So I just did my own thing.
“If I see that there is an opportunity to make a move on the outside, then I will just try and make a move on the outside. This is all feeling.
“It’s pure instinct. I have never done that [thinking about what to do at the start], not in karting either. My father has never told me how to do a start either. So it’s just pure feeling.”