Max Verstappen hits out at critics over driver errors

Verstappen's made driver errors in four of the nine races this season when he's been challenged by his rivals

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Ahead of the 2024 Spanish GP Max Verstappen has slammed those criticising him for making more mistakes by declaring he doesn’t care about their opinions and knows what he can do, despite admitting to being under more pressure as he responds to criticism of his driver errors during the current Formula 1 season

The reigning world champion had it all his own way in the 2023 campaign with the exception of the Singapore Grand Prix, the only time he didn’t finish on the podium throughout the season, a as he spent most of his time simply managing the gap to rivals as his race engineer begged him to stop trying to push to the limit.

But that is not the case through the current season. Although entering the 2024 Spanish GP Max Verstappen leads the championship, he has made a series of driver errors costing him substantial points. Noticeably in Miami and Monaco as he failed to win those races.

Other errors have also occurred in China and Canada, leading to critics to claim he is unable to handle the heat now he’s finally being put under pressure by McLaren, Ferrari and even Mercedes on a more consistent basis, but he has a firm message for them.

“I’m not here because of other people’s opinions,” Verstappen told members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “I know what I can do, and the team knows what I can do. So, I just focus on my performance, and I know that, you know, when we are under pressure, we can do a good job.  

“But we are not robots. People make mistakes, I make mistakes as well, but you try to minimize those kinds of mistakes throughout the year, especially when you are in a tight battle with a lot of teams where you constantly need to score points.”

Ahead of the 2024 Spanish GP, Max Verstappen added: “I think there was races that you may be a bit more under pressure. So, you have to drive closer to 100% all the time. I think that’s normal. I’ve done that also in the past, but that’s natural when teams are getting closer to you. Some races last year you didn’t need to go at 100%, that’s how it is.”

Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Does Max Verstappen like the fight?

Verstappen sensationally stole the headlines in August 2023 when he threatened his team and the sport that he would retire if he had to race in the midfield again if Red Bull ever fail to produce a race-winning car.

In 2022, it was reported that Red Bull’s bosses were concerned that if he had to go through a title fight to the same magnitude as he did with Lewis Hamilton in 2021, he might even retire from the sport.

So, critics often ask the question of whether he even likes having to work for his wins by fighting other drivers.

“I enjoy Montreal as well every single time,” Verstappen added on his battles with his challengers. “But, at the same time I also really enjoy really getting out everything out of the car myself and winning by 20 seconds.

“But I’m not afraid of competition, so, for me, it doesn’t matter here and there having one of those races [2024 Canadian GP].”

Verstappen‘s response to criticism highlights his confidence in his abilities and his focus on performance, despite the driver errors and pressure he has faced this season.

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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