SportF1Without Mateschitz, Verstappen thinks he wouldn't be in F1

Without Mateschitz, Verstappen thinks he wouldn't be in F1

Shortly before the start of qualifying for the 2022 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, news broke of the passing of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz , who left us at the age of 78 after a long battle with illness.

The Austrian took his brand to the Grand Circus as a sponsor, before acquiring two teams, as well as playing a pivotal role in the development of many young drivers, including Max Verstappen. The energy drinks team opted to give the Dutchman a seat at just 17 years old in 2015, thus making him the youngest ever in such a single-seater and a two-time world champion in 2022.

Verstappen, who was third in the standings at the Circuit of the Americas, was 92 thousandths behind the pole position author Carlos Sainz, and acknowledged that the news made the session “tough” for everyone at Red Bull, ” no matter” the result.

“We are thinking more about what happened today, and also about what it has meant for everyone within the team, with what the Red Bull company has built in Formula 1 and personally for me,” explained the Dutchman. “Because without him, I wouldn’t be sitting here today, and I wouldn’t have been as successful as I have been.”

“It’s very hard for everyone in the team,” he said. “Luckily I got to see him a couple of weeks ago so we were able to spend a little time together, but it’s still a tough day.”

Verstappen said he will try to make Mateschitz “proud” in the race, as the team has a shot at the constructors’ title if Ferrari does not score more than 19 points than Milton Kyenes. Regarding qualifying, the Dutchman indicated that it was a “very complicated” lap given the wind that hit the first sector, as well as the management of the tires to keep them in the correct operating window.

“We tried a few different things,” he explained. “I think at the end of the day, we were competitive with both strategies that we tried, and just on my first lap of Q3 I lost like three tenths in the first corner because of the bumps and losing the rear.

“It was very difficult, and then in the second attempt, I did two good first sectors, but I ran out of tires a bit in the last one, with oversteer in the penultimate corner,” said Verstappen. “But overall, we were very close to pole position. In the last race it was the other way around, I was first and there was very little difference, now when you don’t put it all together you are third.”

“I think still, it’s a good result, we know we have a fast car and I think we should be strong anyway,” said the newly crowned Formula 1 world champion.

The Red Bull Dutchman will start from second due to Charles Leclerc’s grid penalty, and Sainz put pressure on him by saying that in his RB18 he would be the favorite for great pace on long runs.

For his part, Verstappen did not want to enter into more statements about a possible victory that would equal him with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel in terms of times at the top in a single campaign: “It does not matter if you are a favorite or not, I will only have fun out there.”

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