Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says he has learned to take satisfaction from obtaining the best possible result from a race weekend rather than simply focusing on race wins, but says he is keen to make forward strides and fight Mercedes.
The Dutchman has often been the driver to join Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the top three in 2020, with the trio sharing the podium seven times so far this season.
Verstappen has not been able to compete for the Drivers’ Championship this year, with four retirements and an overall lack of competitive edge from Red Bull severely damaging his prospects.
Despite claiming to enjoy finishing races in second or third, Verstappen likened his season to being a third wheel to the leading Mercedes formation.
“You just don’t want to be walking around frustrated trying to get results which are not possible – that’s what I am trying to do,” Verstappen said.
“I just keep pushing myself, keep trying to get the best possible result what’s within the car. Every weekend again the same.
“I know I can’t fight for the championship this year in general even though sometimes it looked like we were a bit closer of course but then also with the retirements we had, it was very quickly out of the picture.
“I do enjoy now that if I get a third or second. I was enjoying Imola a lot where finally I was a bit closer and I could actually be within two-tenths of them, one-tenth in terms of lap time.
“So you’re really motivated to try and stay with them and pass a car where normally I know they’re just running away from me three, four-tenths a lap.
“I am a bit in no man’s land which isn’t what you want. I mean it’s nice to be on the podium but at the end of the day being there as you know as the third guy.
“It’s a bit like you’re third-wheeling if you go out for dinner – it’s not very lovely. I prefer to be the one having a nice romantic dinner rather than being the third wheel.”
Verstappen is currently third in the Drivers’ standings, 35 points down on second-placed Bottas.