Formula 1: Max Verstappen’s approach to ‘ignoring the noise’

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) /

Max Verstappen discussed “ignoring the noise” over the course of a long and grueling battle to become Formula 1 world champion.

To be the best, you have to beat the best. Max Verstappen did just that throughout the 2021 Formula 1 season, a season capped off by a world championship-winning last-lap pass in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit.

By any statistical measure, Lewis Hamilton will go down as the greatest driver in the history of Formula 1.

Related Story. Formula 1 mock draft. light

His seven world championships are tied for the most with the great Michael Schumacher, and his 103 victories are 12 clear of the mark Schumacher had held comfortably for roughly a decade and a half.

Entering the 2021 season, only Nico Rosberg had managed to beat Hamilton in a championship battle since the V6 turbo hybrid era of Formula 1 began back in 2014. That battle among Mercedes teammates went down to the wire in 2016 and was also decided in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In the four seasons that had been completed since then, Hamilton locked up the title well before the season finale.

To have the mental capacity just to go into battle with Hamilton for any period of time is one thing. But to be able to prevail over the course of a grueling 22-race season, which began back in late March with the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit, is another.

And that’s exactly what Verstappen did, taking advantage of the late safety car period and the ensuing restart in Sunday’s race to capture the crown after the two had entered the race tied atop the driver standings with 369.5 points each.

Given the world we live in, Hamilton wasn’t the only individual whom the Red Bull driver had to overcome throughout the season.

Critics took aim at his “overaggressive, dangerous” driving style after what seemed like every race. They criticized his mindset that winning the world championship wouldn’t change his life.

Many news outlets even spent quite a bit of time between the penultimate race of the season and the season finale discussing the possibility of him intentionally wrecking his rival, given the fact that he owned the tiebreaker due to having more wins (9-8).

And, of course, you can’t forget about social media.

It was almost as if he wasn’t truly getting the respect he deserved for his abilities on the race track, which he had demonstrated time and time again.

A late race-winning pass on Hamilton in the French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard and brilliant driving to hold off a faster Hamilton in the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas stand out as two prime examples.

Verstappen himself is on record calling his critics “keyboard warriors”, and while that comment was made a few years ago now, never was it more relevant than it was throughout the 2021 campaign.

We had the chance to talk to Verstappen after he secured his maiden championship this past Sunday, and we asked him about his approach to ignoring all of the outside “noise” for an extended period of time in order to focus on the challenging task at hand.

“Just keep on doing what I had been doing before, and know who the important people are to you in terms of the team — close people,” Verstappen told Beyond the Flag.

Naturally, no articles published, nor tweets sent, have a direct impact on what Verstappen is trying to achieve.

Even at the young age of 24 years old, he understands and embraces this concept, leaving him with no need to get caught up in that “noise”.

“You know, at the end of the day, what people write about you, that shouldn’t really upset you or put you off,” the Dutchman continued, “because it’s very important to be working with the people who actually can make a difference in terms of your performance.”

That mentality, whether it was applied with team principal Christian Horner or race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase or countless others within the Milton Keynes-based team, paid off in 2021.

“That’s what I’ve been doing the last eight and a half months.”

Verstappen finished the year with 10 wins in 22 races, making him just the fourth driver in Formula 1 history to win at least 10 races in a single season.

He added eight runner-up finishes, giving him the single-season record of 18 podium finishes. His only actual finish outside of the top two was in Hungary, where he was caught up in a first-lap accident than left his car damaged. He finished in ninth place.

He did suffer three DNFs, once due to a fluke tire blowout in Baku while leading comfortably with only a handful of laps to go, and twice due to collisions with Hamilton, one in Silverstone on the opening lap and another in Monza later in the race after both drivers had experienced poor pit stops.

The 23-race 2022 Formula 1 season is scheduled to begin on Sunday, March 20 with the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit.

Hamilton is listed as the early favorite to win what would be a record-breaking eighth world championship at +105, while Verstappen is listed as the second favorite at +240.

Make your pick now on WynnBET.

Next. Top 25 Formula 1 drivers of all-time. dark

WynnBET Promo: Bet $1, Win $100 if any NFL or college football team scores. Claim offer now.