Max Verstappen has said that quitting Formula 1 with a first World Championship secured is not a path which he will take.
The Red Bull driver is on a huge high having just beaten Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 title, securing his first Drivers’ crown with a last-lap overtake on the seven-time champ in Abu Dhabi.
Verstappen is now only the second driver to have beaten Hamilton to the title since 2014, the other, Nico Rosberg back in 2016, in what was his final season as Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate.
It was his last season because just days after winning the World Championship, the first of his career, it proved to be his only with Rosberg announcing his retirement from Formula 1.
But rest assured, Verstappen will not be following Rosberg’s exit blueprint, stating that it is “never an option” to quit.
In an interview with Blick, when asked if he is now going to leave F1 Rosberg-style, Verstappen said: “Quitting is never an option.
“I’m happy to be in Formula 1 and overjoyed to be World Champion. I hope to be able to continue driving for many years to come.”
Red Bull’s driver programme boss Helmut Marko, who spotted Verstappen in Formula 3 and brought him on the path to F1, believes that the Dutchman has not yet reached his peak as a driver.
Of course the last time Red Bull won consecutive Drivers’ titles was with Sebastian Vettel, who claimed four in succession between 2010-13. Red Bull were also crowned Constructors’ Champion in all four seasons.
But, if he is to embark on a similar run, then Verstappen says he will need some luck.
“You certainly need a bit of luck to win the title several times in a row,” he accepted.
Verstappen is not putting that kind of pressure on himself though. He feels that with his first title now secured, he has achieved everything in Formula 1, and so any further championships that come his way would just be a bonus.
“I have now achieved everything that is possible. Everything that follows now is a bonus,” he said.
And even though he is now a champion, Verstappen also does not intend to change at all.
At times this season his aggressive driving style was called into question, while he also criticised the steward’s treatment of him on several occasions.
But the legacy Verstappen wants to leave is that he stuck to being his “straightforward” and “honest” self.
“Well, I don’t plan to change,” said Verstappen when asked what legacy he hopes to leave as World Champion.
“I always want to remain myself. The real Max, who is always straightforward and always honest.”
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