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Max Verstappen says ‘it doesn’t make any difference’ to be leading F1 championship

Despite the possibility of reaching his childhood dream of profitable a world title being an actual risk this season, Verstappen is taking every thing in his stride.

There is a sure strain that comes with being the championship chief, specifically when you’ve gotten seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton respiration down your neck, but it surely’s not a strain that Verstappen appears to be feeling.

“It doesn’t make any distinction to be sincere,” the Red Bull driver matter-of-factly tells CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies. “We all the time wished to be right here and now that now we have a really aggressive bundle, we’re simply very pleased that it is occurring and now we simply have to stick with it.

“I imply, it is nonetheless a really lengthy season, we’re not even midway. Of course the hole in the meanwhile appears good, in all probability on paper, but in addition it’s extremely simply gone. So we simply have to make positive that we do not make errors and keep on prime of it.

“I by no means actually take a look at this stuff. At the top of the day, they do not actually make an enormous distinction by way of how I really feel about it.”

Max Verstappen celebrates his win at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Still solely 23 years of age, it is a testomony to Verstappen’s psychological power that he has been in a position to win every of the final three races after his mishap on the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which noticed him spin out down the primary straight due to tire failure simply 5 laps from the top.

It was a fairly sensible drive at the Monaco Grand Prix again in May that noticed Verstappen take the lead within the drivers’ championship for the primary time and his performances have solely improved since, permitting him to open up a 32-point hole over Hamilton.

But as Azerbaijan has little question taught him, all that onerous work might come undone right away.

“I’m not having fun with it in the meanwhile to be sincere, no more than what I’d be doing the previous couple of years,” Verstappen says. “Because I do know that it doesn’t say something in the meanwhile.

“I would like to be there on the final race and end it off in that approach, due to course you possibly can be pleased proper now, however then for those who lose out on the finish of the yr, then there’s nothing to be pleased about.

“So that is why I’m fairly impartial in every thing and I’m simply very centered on what I’ve to do.”

Nobody has ever doubted Verstappen’s championship-winning credentials as a driver, to this point in his six-year profession the widespread consensus has been that it is the Red Bull automobile that has let him down.

This season, nonetheless, that appears to have modified.

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Red Bull, headed up by crew principal Christian Horner, has made dramatic enchancment’s on final yr’s automobile and have lastly offered Verstappen with a automobile able to difficult Hamilton and Mercedes.

Verstappen believes the crew’s dominance at tracks they have not typically carried out properly at up to now — France, for example, the place the Dutch driver this season secured pole and the race win — will stand them in good stead for the upcoming British Grand Prix, the place Hamilton and Mercedes have dominated lately.

“The crew, together with Christian, they concentrate on giving me that automobile, which they’ve given me this yr and now we’re simply working very well collectively,” says Verstappen.

“I feel we actually made a great step ahead from final yr and now it is all about preserving that up [and] enhancing, as a result of we can not simply depend on what now we have now till the top of the season. We simply have to preserve attempting to be higher.

“You have to be constructive as properly, however we all know that they [Mercedes] are going to be very robust there [Silverstone], they’re bringing upgrades so it isn’t going to be simple. I’m assured that we will do a great job right here as properly.”

This weekend’s British GP will be the primary of three races this season to characteristic a model new qualifying format.

The normal one-hour qualifying session will nonetheless characteristic, however it’s going to solely determine the beginning positions for the dash qualifying session, relatively than the race itself.

Max Verstappen kicks his tire after crashing out in Azerbaijan.

It will be this new dash qualifying session, a 100 kilometer, 17-lap race, that may determine how the drivers line up for Sunday’s grand prix.

Points that depend in direction of to drivers’ championship whole may also be awarded to the highest three drivers in dash qualifying, with three for first place, two for second and one for third.

“I’m truly fairly open-minded,” Verstappen says of the brand new format. “I’m not in opposition to it, I’m not for it in the meanwhile. I simply need to see the way it progresses. It’s very new.

“For positive it’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment to be made by way of the way you method the entire weekend. But I suppose time will inform, we’ll simply learn how it goes.

“It’s troublesome to say proper now [if it will impact the race]. After FP1 [first practice], you make your adjustments for qualifying and you’ll’t actually modify the automobile anymore, so that you hope that you just make the fitting adjustments.

“So you’ll discover out slightly bit throughout the dash race or qualifying race if it is good or not — and if it isn’t good, then you definately’re in bother.”

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