Max: 'I hope we can surprise on Saturday in Melbourne'
Published on 09 March 2019 by Kees-Jan Koster
A week ago, Max Verstappen completed the test days in Barcelona for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. But before he returned home, he had an interview with Olav Mol lasting half an hour, which was broadcasted Friday night on Ziggo Sport.
“Except for the last day it went well”, says Max afterwards the last test day, at which his teammate Pierre Gasly crashed, resulting in only a few laps for the Dutchman. “We had a few small issues, otherwise we could have done more laps. But we made more than enough kilometres.”
“Over the years we have lost a lot of points because we did not drive enough kilometres. Then we found out during races that certain things failed. Not only in the power unit, but also in our chassis. This year we have done a lot of laps, so we do not have to be afraid of that.”
With Honda as the new engine supplier, Red Bull Racing will for the first time have a qualifying mode on their power unit, which should gain them time in Q3. Max: “I hope we can surprise on Saturday in Melbourne. We have a party-mode and know it works. If I have already tried it? That has not been necessary yet. It works and that is important.”
“When you see the way Honda engineered the engine, it is incredibly beautiful. It looks like a race engine, it is constructed logically and nicely finished. Very smooth”, praises Max the new power unit.
Max does not make any predictions. When asked the question if he could become world champion, he answers: “I am realistic and optimistic, but at the moment it is very hard to say if I can become world champion. See, if last year the first six races went differently, we could have become second in the championship. It depends on so many things. At the beginning of last year, everyone thought Ferrari would become world champion, but they did not. A lot can happen during a season.”
There are always circuits where certain teams perform very well. That will be true for the RB15 too, according to Max. “There where we are normally strong: Monaco. And Mexico, there I have to be able to get a third victory in a row. And hopefully Singapore, because we could have won there if we had better driveability.”
Max starts, as a 21-year-old, his fifth Formula 1 season, but he is not pinching himself. “This is what I want and better than expected at my age. I am very pleased with that. On the other hand, it does not make sense to live in a dream, so I focus on what I am doing now. Nothing stays forever, I have to perform now, before I am too old. I have been able to turn my hobby into work. That is really nice.”
When asked the question if he would want to drive in Formula 1 for another twenty years, Max responds: “That is very long? It all depends. If I would have a winning car and be able to handle it physically, maybe yes. But at the moment I think that would be very, very long...”
In any case, Max is looking forward to next weekend, when the first Grand Prix, in Australia, is scheduled. “Racing, especially on Sunday, is the best there is.”