Since his debut in Formula 1 in 2015, Max Verstapppen has often had the reputation of being a very aggressive driver on the track, sometimes too much in the eyes of some competitors.
This impression reached no climax in 2021, the Dutchman not hesitating to sometimes go so far as to clash with his championship rival, Lewis Hamilton.
But this season, the Dutchman hasn’t displayed the same aggressiveness towards the competition on the track at all. Some would say it was because he had a very comfortable lead in the championship this time, others because winning his first title allowed him to take another step in his career.
For the former F1 driver Romain Grosjean, it is towards the second hypothesis that we must go. If Verstappen displayed such mastery in 2022, it is above all because he has calmed down.
« We already knew that Max was a very talented driver, but I think his first title gave him a lot of confidence and composure in the race, » believes the French driver.
« Since he became world champion, he is more at peace, he drives as he is used to doing, namely in a very committed way, which I appreciate and admire in him. »
« They’ve really dominated this year. I hope he and Red Bull have it less easy in the future with teams like Ferrari and Mercedes because while it’s fun for Max, it’s not good. for the show of always seeing the same car win. »
Romain Grosjean no longer had a competitive single-seater when Max Verstappen began to assert himself as one of the very best on the grid at Red Bull, but he has not forgotten his few struggles against the future double world champion.
“We had little chance against Red Bull with Haas, but we dated for a while in F1. We had some great battles and I find Max very impressive.
Criticized during his debut in F1, when many observers considered him far too young to evolve in the category, Verstappen will have taken the time to achieve unanimity, but he will have been able to develop to become very complete according to Grosjean.
« It’s something Max learned over the years. He moved through the junior categories very quickly and came to F1 extremely early.
« But you can have all the preparation you want, F1 is still F1, it’s harder than anything else and you have to get more involved. »