Max Verstappen has spoken about how he tries to avoid negative comments, after a year in which his intense championship battle with Lewis Hamilton resulted in online backlash against both from fans of the two drivers.
While Nicholas Latifi revealed that, after the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, he received death threats from fans, Verstappen explained that he does his best to avoid being affected by any comments made about him.
Verstappen said that the trick was to apply the same technique towards positive comments, as well as the negative.
"That's why I always try to stay very neutral," he said in an interview for sponsor CarNext, when asked about how he deals with the pressure of negativity.
"So when people are very positive, of course it's nice to hear, but I don't really take a lot out of it.
"Also when people are negative, that's why when you're always very level then nothing can really disturb you.
"I think that, especially throughout this year, that was very important, because you have the two sides in general. So [if] you stay very neutral, then nothing can really affect you."
No desire for another year like 2021
While Verstappen won out in the fierce battle of 2021, the Dutch driver laughed when asked if he'd like even more drama in the next championship battle.
"I don't need to improve on this!" he commented.
"For me, it doesn't need to be like this every single year. I don't think you can last a long time in Formula 1 like that.
"I'm happy how it played out. It was an amazing season, a lot of unpredictable things happened. The two teams fighting against each other, that is always more exciting than when it's one team dominating and it's just the two teammates basically fighting."
But with Verstappen saying after his title win that everything from now on is simply a bonus in his career, he added that he's not going into the next season with the intent of trying to chase the records set by Hamilton or Michael Schumacher.
"You need a bit of luck to be able to fight for seven or eight, you need a very dominant team to be able to do that," he said.
"So you don't always have that luck, or you are not in that era, and sometimes it just doesn't happen. For me, I always wanted to win one and then we'll see where we go from there.
"Everything that comes now is a bonus but that doesn't mean that, if I lose a race, I won't be upset. But maybe a few minutes after, I'll be OK."
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