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Max Verstappen

Hill: Verstappen coping well with early-season frustration

Damon Hill says he probably wouldn't have handled the frustration of retirements as well as Max Verstappen has in 2022.

Marko Verstappen Australia
Article
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Damon Hill believes that Max Verstappen is coping with the disappointment of his derailing title defence in admirable fashion, saying he probably wouldn't have handled it with as much composure himself.

Verstappen has retired from second place in two of the first three Grands Prix of 2022, meaning that he now trails Ferrari's Charles Leclerc by 46 points just a few weeks after the season beginning.

With the majority of the points loss coming from technical problems on his Red Bull taking him out of the race, Verstappen has managed to keep calm about the situation, although labelled it as an "unacceptable" situation after the Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Helmut Marko has admitted that Verstappen is a "timebomb" waiting to explode if the team can't get on top of their reliability issues, but Hill has praised the Dutch driver for how he's currently dealing with the situation.

Hill: It's been very costly for Verstappen

"I think Max is coping well," 1996 World Champion Hill told the F1 Nation podcast.

"We've had a few expressions of displeasure, using words like 'unacceptable' and I think Christian Horner (Red Bull team boss) has also agreed with that. It's not acceptable, they need to fix this problem.

"But he also said it's better to have a quick car that's not reliable than a slow car that is reliable.

"Once you've got the speed, you can work on all the other bits. So they will be working furiously to fix that. But it's been very costly, you have to say. Meanwhile, the Ferrari is just going round and round like a metronome."

How would Hill have reacted?

While Hill's own title defence in 1997 took place at the wheel of an uncompetitive Arrows, he explained that he likely wouldn't have handled the situation as well as Verstappen had he been in a car that was more capable of fighting for the championship.

Asked about how he would have handled the media pressure and scrutiny if he was in Verstappen's shoes, Hill said: "Well, there wasn't the [media] pen.

"It was much easier in my day, we had a press conference. Then, after the race, the journalists would come around to the motor home and ask a few questions, you got on your plane and went home.

"They work so hard, they are constantly bombarded the moment they get out of the car - I don't know how they cope, honestly, these drivers today."

Hill went on to say that he probably wouldn't have been able to keep a lid on his temper in the same way drivers do nowadays.

"It's just relentless, the interviews and stuff," he commented.

"I wouldn't be able to cope very well. I would probably drop a few clangers and say, 'I am really bleep, bleep, bleep!'

"They ask how do you feel? You can't say, 'I'm being philosophical about it'. No, it is really not a good time to talk to them."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Can fast but fragile Red Bull respond to Leclerc's charge?

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher look back over the Australian Grand Prix, where Ferrari's Charles Leclerc triumphed and Red Bull's Max Verstappen retired.

F1 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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