Formula 1: Max Verstappen is getting used to not caring

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategul T/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategul T/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) /

Dealing with naysayers is not new for two-time reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen, who was booed after winning in Miami.

In one of his very few Formula 1 races as a betting underdog, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen still managed to overcome a ninth place starting position to win the Miami Grand Prix at Miami International Autodrome, becoming the first driver to win from that position since Niki Lauda in 1984.

The win was not received well from a number of fans, many of whom were expecting teammate Sergio Perez to prevail from the pole position and take the lead of the championship standings for the first time in his career.

But Verstappen’s tire management put him in position to make a late outside pass on Perez into turn one, and he ended up pulling away.

Verstappen addressed the booing after the race.

"“If I were driving in the back nobody would be doing anything in terms of reaction. I think it is normal when you are winning, and they don’t like who is winning. It is something for me which is absolutely fine as long as I am standing on the top. To me, the most important thing is I take the trophy home and they go back to their houses, and they can have a nice evening.”"

It’s far from the first time in his Formula 1 career that Max Verstappen has shown about how little he cares about the jeering.

On top of him having to deal with Sky Sports’ constant British bias and overwhelming catering to their British audience on a weekly basis, there’s also the element of social media nonsense that all drivers deal with.

In any sport, that is magnified by success, which inherently comes with booing. People hate what they can’t conquer. Verstappen has been no exception.

Speaking to Beyond the Flag a few days after winning the 2021 title, he discussed his approach, which largely includes pushing it aside.

“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,” he said.

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

Verstappen has spoken out about social media abuse before, not specifically that which is aimed at him either. He delivered the cold, hard truth: the fact that those involved in dealing it out are just miserable people who are unhappy with their lives and have no way to elevate themselves. That is their escape from reality.

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His response to the boos in Miami (which, by the way, Sky Sports didn’t make a big fuss about, despite endless complaining about it when it happens to certain others) echoes that sentiment. He really couldn’t care less, and he’s not afraid to lay that out for you if you ask him about it.