Max Verstappen’s father says the back-to-back reigning world champion is more than ready for the winter break.
“Try not to do too much,” Max, 25, smiled when asked what he has planned for the short break that now lies ahead before the 2023 season gets into full swing.
Ultimately, in the Abu Dhabi finale, Verstappen achieved his personal mission of extending his now outright all-time record of wins in a single season – 15.
Red Bull’s mission, ultimately came up short – first but also second in the drivers’ standings.
In Brazil, Verstappen stirred up a huge pot of controversy by refusing to obey the team’s request for him to move over for Sergio Perez.
At the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi, the Mexican fell 3 points short of beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to second overall in the drivers’ championship.
In Abu Dhabi, Verstappen once again did not actively help Perez.
“You can possibly block but is that fair racing?” the Dutchman said afterwards. “I think it’s not the nicest to end the season.”
Max’s father Jos, meanwhile, said there was not a lot his son could have done for Perez anyway.
“Everyone was of course watching the fight between second and third in the championship,” he told Viaplay. “But for me, of course Max was the most important.
“15 victories in a year is so rare so we really have to enjoy that.”
Dutch GP boss Jan Lammers, meanwhile, thinks Perez simply did not do enough to get himself into second overall in the championship.
“Perez drove quite fast times in the second stint, but then his tyres just died,” he told NOS. “Max drove personal fastest times in the last laps, so you can see that he just handled it much better.
“Sure, you can be angry that others don’t give you second place in the championship, but at some point you have to do it yourself,” Lammers added. “I just thought it was a normal racing situation.”
Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko agrees that Perez “just pushed a little too hard in the first stint”.
“That meant we had to bring him earlier than we planned,” he told Servus TV. “We were also quite surprised that Ferrari’s strategy worked. We hadn’t taken that into account at all.
“There was also the overtaking manoeuvre with Hamilton, otherwise it should have been enough,” Marko added. “In the end we have to be satisfied with the result and the rest of the year.
“It’s a shame with Perez, but when the question of swapping places in Brazil comes up, we can now see that it would have been useless because Leclerc had more wins than Checo.”
Perez also insisted he is not angry about the situation anymore.
“It’s just like that sometimes,” he told Sky Deutschland when asked about missing out on second overall.
“In the end I’m happy – we gave everything, I gave everything. We had great moments and fights.
“I’ve had problems with tyre management quite a few times this season so hopefully that’s something we’ll improve for next year. I’m sure we’ll come back even stronger.”
Finally, Jos Verstappen said his son Max is more than ready for a break after another long and intense season both on and off the track.
“Once he had the title, the pressure was off and it made it less exciting,” he said. “I don’t do nearly as much as Max and he’s kind of done with it now.”