“No one makes mistakes on purpose”

( – After eight wins from the 13 races so far in the 2022 Formula 1 season, Max Verstappen is the superior world championship leader. Advantage for the summer break: 80 points over Charles Leclerc. But Verstappen emphasizes that the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring near Budapest showed him how important the zero-error job will be in the final phase of the year.

Red Bull RB18 and Ferrari F1-75, the two defining cars of the 2022 season


In Hungary, Verstappen ran into technical problems in Saturday’s qualifying, which meant he was only tenth on the grid. “We can’t afford many days like this,” he says. “And even on Sunday there were a few minor issues like the clutch and upshifting. It wasn’t great to drive.”

Red Bull is “good overall” and the lead in the Formula 1 drivers’ standings is “of course good”, but “we have to stay on the ball here and see that we improve things,” says Verstappen.

Ferrari as “stirrup holder” for Red Bull?

Especially since the result from Hungary does not reflect the true competitiveness of the top teams. “Because Ferrari has [zweiten] Stint took the wrong tires before they came back in again. Before that they were pretty strong. So it was just about being on the right tires,” explains Verstappen.

Such “small details” could also be decisive in the remaining races. That’s why it’s “extremely important in the fight for the title” to be able to rely on the team and the strategy department as a driver. “Because you can’t afford to make any mistakes.”

“Of course: Always being right is incredibly difficult. Let’s put it that way. But we have some very good boys and girls in the team,” says Verstappen, emphasizing: “Our strategist Hannah [Schmitz] war [in Ungarn] eerily calm. She is very good.”

Ferrari, on the other hand, has repeatedly not acted strategically in an ideal way. So could one say that the competition indirectly contributed to the large gap in the World Cup? “It’s difficult to make a comment,” says Verstappen. “[Fehler] nobody does it on purpose. Everyone always strives for the best result. That’s what the team and I do.”

How Mercedes is helping Red Bull in the title fight

“Sometimes,” Verstappen continues, “you do better than on other weekends. And we’ve already dropped a few points due to problems. But I find it difficult to say Ferrari helped me, because the bottom line is that you always have to do it first perform with your own team. But sometimes it’s harder.”

For example, when suddenly a third team gets involved in the top 3, like Mercedes did in the most recent races. Verstappen expressly welcomes this, but not because of the excitement: “So they can take more points away from Ferrari! That’s why I’m satisfied. Mercedes is doing well.”

But he doesn’t want to rely on that, and instead calls for his Red Bull team to further optimize the RB18: “There are still a few areas in which we can improve. That’s why we have to make the car faster in the future.”

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