Max Verstappen ignoring haters, predicts 'closer' 2023 F1 season

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Max Verstappen is paying little attention to his detractors as he eyes a third Formula 1 title in 2023.

The Dutchman received a hostile reception from some fans during last season as the bad feelings over 2021 and then Red Bull's budget cap breach last year fuelled his critics.

But Verstappen doesn't believe he has become F1's 'bad boy' because he is simply being himself.

“That’s what maybe some people think but I’m always honest,” he was quoted as telling Channel 4.

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“I’m always straightforward. Maybe some people do not appreciate that but the people who know me, I think I’m always very open-minded and I’m also really working there for the team.

“Maybe some people never really put me in that data, but they also don’t know me as a person. But that’s how life goes.”

Max then reflected on his record-breaking achievements in 2022 which saw him secure the most wins (15) and most points (454) for a single driver in a single year en route to a second F1 title. 

“I don’t think so!" he said on if success could have been predicted. “Especially also after our start of the season. I think we managed to turn it around very quickly and we made the car a lot more competitive.

“So it’s been an incredible season for everyone in the team. It’s been a lot of fun as well to be a part of it.

“And I also know these seasons don’t really come along that often, so you also really have to appreciate it and just enjoy it.”


But with Ferrari and Mercedes both pushing to catch up, Verstappen believes this year could be more in line with 2021 than 2022.

“You can’t have that [2021] drama every single year," he told The Guardian. "It’s not good for me, it’s not healthy for anyone in the team. Both teams!

"It just would be very tough if you have that every single year you know. It's nice to have a season like I had in 2021, but it's also nice to have a season like I had this year [in 2022].

“I do think it will be closer [in 2023],” he added. “People are understanding the cars a lot more, and over time all the teams will just edge closer.

“We know over the winter that we really have to keep pushing and keep trying to find performance."