Verstappen Had To 'Learn Some Harsh Lessons' Before He Started Avoiding Crashes Says GP

Friday, 29 March 2024 at 01:30
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Max Verstappen is one of the most accomplished drivers in Formula One, but his beginnings in the sport were quite rough.
The Dutch driver holds a record that will likely never be broken due to new rules preventing drivers younger than 18 from racing in F1. He entered his first race at the age of 17 years and 166 days, making him the youngest-ever driver in Formula One.
At times, that meant that still, as a teenager, he could make some questionable choices and decisions, and that's why Verstappen was known early on in his career as a driver who was prone to crashing or colliding with others way too often.
That changed over the years, especially when he started regularly competing for race wins, but especially when he started competing for the World Championship in 2021.
Although his 2021 fight with Lewis Hamilton still had some really aggressive moments from both drivers, it seems that from 2022, when Red Bull arguably became the most dominant team in the sport's history, the Dutchman realized he didn't need to be so aggressive.
His driving style changed, and he's now a three-time World Champion, thanks to the input from his team. His race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, known as GP, talked to BBC about their relationship and how his experience helped to develop Verstappen as a driver.

"I had experience working with multiple drivers before Max, and that was one of the biggest helps in terms of hitting the ground running with him. I think if I would have been a newbie to my role - I won't quite say he would have eaten me alive, but I'm not sure he would have had that respect for a junior engineer."

Lambiase admitted that while the team saw huge potential in Verstappen, they were aware of the fact that he was having too many accidents, and that's why they chose to focus on that part.

"Max learned some really harsh lessons in the two or three years before 2021. His racecraft really was something that we focused on, making sure we were just picking up points when it wasn't possible to win a race."

The 26-year-old learned some "harsh lessons" along the way, according to Lambiase, but that's also the reason why he's arguably the best in the world right now.

"We were concentrating on building his consistency, needing to be finishing every race, maybe not putting himself in a situation where he can end up in a 50/50 accident with another driver."