Max Verstappen: Quick rise meant I made F2 mistakes in F1

Red Bull F1 driver Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen says he is “still getting better” in Formula 1, believing his rapid career rise meant he made Formula 2-level mistakes in the top tier of motorsport.

Verstappen was promoted to Formula 1 aged just 17 in 2015, with his only prior car racing experience coming in European Formula 3 and the one-off Ferrari-run Florida Winter Series.

After a shaky start to 2018 Verstappen has emerged as one of Formula 1’s standout drivers, having finished each grand prix held in the last 12 months inside the top five.

He now holds third position in the Drivers’ Championship, just seven points behind Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, having equalled the Finn’s 2019 win tally of two.

“Last year, from the second half of the season it’s good,” said Verstappen on his form.

“It can always be better. Over the years, you learn how to be better.

“Through experience, from the races I’ve done, I’m definitely not a rookie now, I’ve done 90 plus starts, so of course, I did only one year in F3 and getting into F1 is a big jump, so I guess you made a few mistakes which maybe others have made in F2.

“I’m still getting better. I’m only 21. “[I have better] consistency, knowing when to peak, when not to, when to take a risk, when not to. Trying to bring a result back and score the points.”

Red Bull has had just one failure to finish a race this year, which came in Azerbaijan, when Pierre Gasly’s RB15 slowed and stopped due to a driveshaft failure.

Verstappen believes Honda’s greater reliability has enabled Red Bull to push its own car harder, assisting it in unearthing any potential weaknesses.

“We did have mechanical failures from the car, not that power unit, last year,” he said.

“But they also came because we didn’t have the chance to test them to the limit.

“Honda is spending so much time on the dyno, and then we also find out the limits of our parts on the car. We never had that before, so you never had an idea it was strong enough.

“They only way you found out is by retiring. The whole preparation to get into the season is so much better, it’s why the car and power unit is very reliable.”