By John Yong
All photos: PUMA Motorsport/Red Bull
How do you feel about the race this weekend? Any pre-race jitters?
To be honest, I don’t really feel that nervous. If you’ve raced as much as I have, you don’t really feel anxious at all. I just want to get back into the driver seat and explore the track before the big race on Sunday.
What’s your strategy for this weekend?
The strategy is to be on the podium! But, we’ll see. It’s a bit difficult to say that right now without any practice. I think we just have to feel our way into the weekend.
How does the Singapore Grand Prix compare to the other races?
Driving under the dark sky and artificial lights. As a driver, you’ll have to adapt to any situation. Thankfully the lights are really good, so the difference really isn’t that big. I usually get adjusted to the race conditions by the second or third lap.
You’ve said the Singapore circuit is one of the most challenging – if not the most – for you. What makes it such a challenge?
Compared to Monaco, for example, the Singapore circuit is more physically demanding with more sharp corners and fast turns. However, I do enjoy the challenge and it’s always good to be back here.
How did you prepare for this weekend’s race and what’s your training regime like?
I did a lot of heat training in the sauna to acclimatize to Singapore’s weather. Drivers sweat a lot during a race because of engine heat and we always have to remain hydrated. With the high humidity in Singapore, it makes things more difficult for us. Training wise, I do mostly bodyweight exercises. Drivers have to be strong, but we can’t be heavy. I also have my own personal trainer to help with my training and diet. I like to eat, so I always have to watch my weight.
What are your three favorite Grand Prix circuits?
Monaco, Hungary, and definitely Singapore. The Red Bull Racing team always performs well on these three circuits.
What goes through your mind during a race? Are there any mental barriers that you will have to push through?
I honestly don’t think about the mental side of things because racing feels very natural to me. Different situations can happen anytime and no two races are the same. You’re always thinking about something different. You’ll just have to react to them accordingly.
You are currently one of the youngest F1 drivers out there. Does your youth give you an advantage over the other drivers?
I don’t think so. At the end of the day, experience is still a very important factor and it does give you an advantage over younger drivers. With experience, you’ll probably know the track better and can make better decisions during a race.
There are people who are critical of your age and your aggressive approach to racing. What do you have to say about them?
What’s there to say? It happens in every sport. There will also be positive and negative people. That’s life and you’ll just have to take it in your stride.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing will be competing in the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend, September 15 to 17.
Find out more about Red Bull Racing here.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Read More: Singapore Grand Prix: Why We Need Formula 1