How Max Verstappen is a mentality monster amid Red Bull turmoil

Max Verstappen has made a perfect start to the 2024 Formula 1 season and there's no stopping him

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As fractions continue to appear in this never-ending Red Bull saga, one person who is showing no signs of cracking is Max Verstappen. Two races, two wins, two pole positions and the undeniable status as title favourite.

Verstappen will look to equal his own record of 10 consecutive wins at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix and his on-track performances have been outstanding.

Have we ever seen a driver perform week in, week out like the 26-year-old has for a few years now? Arguably not. Amidst the potential falling of Red Bull at the top, Verstappen is just in red hot form and that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Exceptional Verstappen

Unfortunately if you’re not a Verstappen fan, F1 in 2024 has been largely dull. We go into races already thinking who will be second behind Verstappen and with little hope about a fight for the win.

You can argue that if Verstappen had a better teammate, the races would be more exciting. That’s probably right. However, Sergio Perez is a solid driver and many rated him highly before he joined Red Bull in 2021. It’s only since Verstappen utterly dominated Perez that people question the Mexican’s ability.

Of course, a Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc or Lando Norris would give Verstappen a tougher time. But even they would struggle right now to consistently beat Verstappen.

The excitement of Verstappen when he didn’t have the best car was we would see an aggression and flamboyance to win races or score podiums in inferior machinery. There’s a reason he’s won a race in every campaign he’s had with Red Bull since 2016 and that deserves a lot of credit.

Max Verstappen celebrates victory after the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

His 56th career victory at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP was also his 100th podium from 188 starts and there’s just a lazar focus to keep on adding to his extraordinary numbers.

“It’s 88 missed podiums!” reacted Verstappen to the press when told about that statistic. “No, of course, very happy with that. But I’m not really a guy, you know, looking at the stats.

“So I’m just happy to hit 100. But I want to, of course, continue and just focus race-by-race on achieving the best possible result all the time.”

Off track battle not affecting on track performance

Verstappen is displaying an incredible mindset and focus in 2024, underlining his mentality that it really is all about the racing.

He may be on the side of his father, Jos Verstappen, and may even not totally have full faith in team boss Christian Horner, whose investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour concluded in February.

There appears to be disagreement between the 51 percent Yoovidhya family shareholders from Thailand versus the Austrian shareholders, which is headed up by Mark Mateschitz and chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff.

Helmut Marko, Max Verstappen, Christian Horner and Sergio Perez celebrate after the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Clive Rose / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

If it is a case of losing Horner or Verstappen, the answer surely must be to keep the driver that has delivered three consecutive drivers’ world titles, and probably a fourth this year.

Verstappen has been very straightforward with the press during this whole Red Bull saga and made it clear that Helmut Marko must stay at the team.

For a normal, ordinary human, a battle at work or personal issues would probably affect you mentality but Verstappen somehow manages to answer any questions from the media then get on with things in the car, like everything is normal away from it. That’s a brilliant quality to have in your armoury.

“I always said that what is most important is that we work together as a team and that everyone keeps the peace,” said Verstappen.

“That’s what we, I think, all agree on within the team. So hopefully from now on, that is also fully the case. Everyone is trying to focus in the same direction.

“I think the positive out of all this is that it didn’t hurt our performances. So it’s a very strong team. I think also mentally, what you can see from not only driver’s side, but also mechanics, engineers, everyone is there to do their job.

“I think everyone, even when there is stuff going on or whatever, they’re just very focused on their job as they should be.”

Verstappen the Mentality Monster

The term Mentality Monster is often used in sports, particularly football and basketball. It refers to an exceptional mental strength, resilience, and determination, allowing them to perform consistently well under pressure and overcome obstacles.

In America, some people may call this Mamba Mentality – an elite mindset displayed by legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant.

These sportspeople are known for their unwavering focus, strong mindset, and ability to thrive in challenging situations, making them formidable competitors which is exactly what Verstappen has shown.

Where does that come from? Perhaps Verstappen‘s unique upbringing where his father Jos Verstappen punished him for not winning is a factor.

It’s just part of Verstappen‘s mentality to just go racing. At the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP for example, Verstappen spent hours sim racing until 4am after taking pole position, before getting some sleep and dominating the race. That just sums up his life.

Max Verstappen celebrates victory after the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

How many races can Verstappen win in 2024?

Verstappen is already third on the all-time Grand Prix winners’ list after surpassing Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel in 2023. Next is Michael Schumacher on 91 wins then Hamilton on 103 victories.

The Dutchman won’t be able to reach their numbers in 2024, as he’s on 56 career wins, but he could hit new extraordinary heights in terms of consecutive victories.

He won 10 on the spin from the 2023 Miami GP in May to the 2023 Italian GP in September, before Red Bull had a shocking weekend, by their standards, in Singapore.

Since then, Verstappen won the final seven races of the 2023 season and has won the opening two events in 2024, so is on a streak of nine.

Helmut Marko and Max Verstappen speak after the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Clive Rose / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

It means he can match his own record of 10 at the 2024 Australian GP and who knows how long that run will continue for? The best driver on the grid is in the best car and we are seeing the end result.

Neither driver or team are making mistakes on the track and it’s hard to see how Verstappen doesn’t win in Australia, Japan, China and Miami, before the European races begin with Imola on May 19.

As the Red Bull off track battles continue, there is no one who is able to fight Max Verstappen on it.

John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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