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Max Verstappen

Verstappen tells Antonelli to ‘make mistakes’ ahead of potential F1 promotion

Max Verstappen has spoken of Andrea Kimi Antonelli and how the Mercedes junior needs to adjust if he is promoted to F1 in the future.

Verstappen Monaco
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen has told Andrea Kimi Antonelli to "make mistakes" if the Mercedes protege is promoted to Formula 1 as an 18-year-old. 

F2 racer Antonelli is a potential candidate Toto Wolff is looking at to replace Lewis Hamilton for 2025, and has carried out a number of tests for Mercedes in old F1 equipment, including the 2022 car.

Currently 17, the same age Verstappen was when he made his debut in 2015, Antonelli is not able to receive a superlicence until August 25th when he turns 18, although a waiver request is understood to have submitted to the FIA. 

Antonelli has been dubbed 'the new Verstappen', with the now three-time world champion sharing advice to the Italian. 

"When you are talented, and you can see that Kimi is very talented, I don't think you should be too worried - and you have to make mistakes," Verstappen told media including RacingNews365 when asked about Antonelli's potential promotion to F1.

"Ideally you want to make these mistakes when you are not fighting for championships, so I got lucky starting at Toro Rosso where not so many people are looking at you.

"So you can make some silly mistakes here and there because it is important to make them because even though you tell yourself all the time: 'I cannot do this, I cannot do that', you will only adapt really if you make them and then move forward.

"When you are that young, you just focus on trying to go as fast as you can, make your mistakes and have good race results and try not to think too much about it."



Working with the team

Red Bull driver Verstappen also elaborated on what the biggest challenges were for him after stepping up straight from Euro F3 to F1 in 2015, bypassing what was then GP2 and GP3, and how he learnt to overcome those problems.

"Hopefully it is nothing too intimidating, but you are such a rookie that there are so many things that you have to learn," he added.

"For me personally, the biggest [challenge] was actually doing a full race distance, like in F3 you do 35-minute races, so there is a lot more involved and looking after your tyres is a big part of it. These tyres are so particular and sensitive compared to some other categories, but of course in F2, F3 you are running on Pirellis already, but for me at the time, that wasn't the case.

"You go through the good moments and bad moments and how you come out of these things, the difficult weekends where it is just not working for you, there is so much to learn.

"It is also growing up as a person, outside of the car, knowing what you want in your private life and then just understanding the set-up of a racing car more and more over time.

"Cars evolve, but when you are with one particular team, you know more or less what works or not with the same engineers and people around you to fine-tune the car. 

"The more time you spend with them, the better it comes and the more it comes to you, but you should not try to think about it too much, just let it happen.

"Now, you can explain all of this, but at the time, you don't know it, so you should just ease into it, and then you have good people around you normally in the team that will coach you."



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