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Max Verstappen

Schumacher F1 'influence' impacting Verstappen

A former Toro Rosso team manager when Max Verstappen raced for the outfit, believes a lesson learned by his father Jos Verstappen instilled the value of being a team's number one driver.

Verstappen Abu Dhabi
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Former F1 team manager, Graham Watson, believes Michael Schumacher's influence has impacted how Max Verstappen is perceived at Red Bull.

Back when father Jos Verstappen was racing at Benetton in 1994 as a substitute for JJ Lehto, the Dutchman knew that Schumacher would often receive preferential treatment over his teammates.

“I think that Jos felt that Michael Schumacher had better material and was favoured,” said Watson in Dutch magazine Formule 1.

“I had the impression that Jos had difficulties accepting that, because he also was a very gifted driver."

Verstappen is known for being highly competitive against his teammates in F1, having defeated Sergio Perez for the last three seasons.

Only Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo have managed to outscore him so far in his career.

'Jos imprinted on Max very early on'

Watson was team manager of the Toro Rosso team in 2015, when Max Verstappen made his F1 debut. He believes this early experience from father Jos impacted his early learnings in becoming a team's top priority.

“Flavio had a strong bond with Michael, both sporting-wise and personal," said Watson.

"That’s why I think Jos imprinted on Max very early on, that the first thing that you have to do is destroy his teammates. And we have seen that in recent years.

“It has to be your team, you have to be the man around whom it revolves. I’m convinced that you now also see this with Max: first beat your team mate, then win the title.

“To this day, I don’t think that Jos got a fair treatment at Benetton. And that has partly ensured that Max understands that aspect of the sport very well: he does not need better equipment, he wants the same equipment, Talent will do the rest.”

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