Max Verstappen says having a competitive car capable of winning the title this year will encourage him to choose when to settle for points and when to “shine”.
The Red Bull charger traded wins with Lewis Hamilton in the first two races of 2021, but the Milton Keynes-based outfits RB16B has so far proved to be a faster all-round machine compared to Mercedes more temperamental W12.
Although the combative Dutchman is always determined to give it all on race day, this year he is opting for a slightly more conservative approach, where points are paramount. But that does not imply that he won’t always try to get the most out of his car.
“I don’t think you lose speed,” Verstappen said. “It’s just choosing your moments when to shine.”
“I mean, you have to understand that if it’s not your day, then you have to settle for a certain result.
“Whereas in the past, we had sometimes a car where we could win races, but we knew we were not in a championship fight so you might risk it a bit more.
“Of course, when you are in a championship fight or at least you know that you have a car which can be competitive more often, your approach does change a little bit because you cannot afford to lose too many points in a weekend where, let’s say, you’re not at your top level.
“So I think that’s what we always have to make sure that even if we don’t have a perfect weekend, we still score a lot of points.”
Verstappen acknowledged that Red Bull may not always have the upper hand over Mercedes on specific circuits, but that’s all the more reason to focus on consistency insists the 23-year-old.
“I just want to do the best job possible every single weekend and, of course, try to make the least mistakes possible,” he said.
“I always feel confident; it’s nothing to do with if you win a race or not. I just hope we are very competitive as the last two races, but yeah, every single weekend you just have to make sure you are on top of the car… because it’s so close between us and Mercedes you really do have to get on top of the car to make a difference
“And that’s what we’ll do this weekend.”
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