Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen said after the opening race of 2022 that he “can’t afford any mistakes” for his chance to defend his title.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of tonight’s FIA awards gala, where he will take his second World Drivers’ Championship title, Verstappen admitted two mechanical retirements in the first three rounds. A mistake for the rest of the season.
“I think you know when you have to fight for the title you have to score points, basically every race as much as you can,” Verstappen explained. “That’s why, of course, it was so hard to get these DNFs at the beginning of the year.
“From then on, I knew that if we retired for any reason, I couldn’t afford any mistakes on my part. So you always try to be as clean as possible and try to be as perfect as you can every weekend. And that’s what I try to ask myself every time I get in the car.”
Red Bull improved the reliability of their car during the season and Verstappen did not experience another mechanical-related retirement for the rest of the year. With 15 wins, he comfortably scored the World Championship. Verstappen expressed how much defending his honor felt compared to when he took his first title last year.
“The feelings are very different, but I think they should be different,” he said. “You spend your whole life on one goal and you become world champion in Formula 1. It’s always very emotional when you first arrive.
“But this year is very different. We were more competitive this year and I think it’s more exciting as a team as a whole. We beat the drivers and developers. We have had many victories as a team.
“So I’d say this one is better and more useful, but the first one is always going to be more emotional.
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