Max Verstappen has urged Dutch countryman Nyck de Vries to stay calm amid raging speculation about his Formula 1 future.
Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko recently admitted the Alpha Tauri rookie is on a “yellow card” – and now he uses a boxing analogy in saying the 28-year-old is “in the count”.
When faced with rumours that he potentially only has three more races ahead of him in F1, de Vries was asked about the situation by reporters in Monaco.
“It’s no wonder when the results aren’t right – that’s normal in this industry, not just at Red Bull but in Formula 1 as a whole,” he said.
“If you want to keep your place, you have to perform well. But that was the case before Formula 1.”
De Vries said that while the pressure on him is “more public” this year than in the past, he’s not fazed by the outside speculation.
“It’s no use worrying about what other people think,” he insisted. “I can’t control that. What I can influence is my own performance.
“I too am disappointed with this first part of the season. I’ve made too many mistakes and I’m the first to admit it. But I know I’m fast enough to earn my place here.”
De Vries was then confronted with data from a German company Paceteq that showed that his average race-pace deficit to teammate Yuki Tsunoda has been four tenths this season – a bigger gap than any other team pairing.
“It doesn’t bother me because I know what happened during the races,” he said, explaining that incidents in Melbourne and Bahrain made the gap look bigger.
World champion Verstappen, a friend of the de Vries circle, urged de Vries to simply focus on the track rather than the rumours.
“We’re all under pressure,” said the Red Bull driver. “We have to constantly perform and be the best version of ourselves.
“Trying even harder in such a situation does not work. You just have to race and not make things bigger than they are. Nyck knows what to do, it just has to go better for him.”