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Max Verstappen

Verstappen's sim teammate outlines unique driving style

Max Verstappen's Team Redline online racing teammate Atze Kerkhof has outlined just what makes the Red Bull driver so quick.

To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen's Team Redline online racing teammate Atze Kerkhof believes the precision in the Dutchman's driving style is a key differentiator to the rest of the Formula 1 field.

Verstappen dominated the 2022 F1 season, claiming 15 victories from 22 Grands Prix and winning two of the three Sprints, as well as having the title wrapped up four races from the end of the season in Japan – the earliest since Sebastian Vettel in 2011, ironically also at Suzuka.

The Red Bull driver set new records for the most wins and points from a driver in a single season as he became a two-time World Champion, while the team scored their first Constructors' crown since 2013.

The Dutchman is a keen online racer when not at Grands Prix, and is set to take part once again in the virtual Le Mans 24 Hours with his Team Redline squad.

Teammate Kerkhof recently spoke about what he feels makes Verstappen unique, including his ability to drive the car in a way F1 teammate Sergio Perez cannot.

Verstappen's driving style

Verstappen is known to favour a strong front-end to his car, where he can rotate it through the corner and deal with a loose rear end, while holding an aversion to understeer.

It is something Kerkhof explains.

"What makes Max very strong is that he is very dynamic in his driving so he can drive an impossible car and send it over the limit and on the edge of optimal performance better than anyone," he said.

"At the beginning of the season, the Red Bull was lazy, and was easy to drive because of the understeer.

"Understeer is very a boring way to drive a car because, whatever you do with the brake pedal, at a certain point, the car just does not rotate anymore.

"What Max does very well is a balance a car that is too pointy, no-one else can handle it because they start sliding and he manages to make it perfectly smooth and uses that extra rotation and he can cancel that when he doesn't need it."

How Verstappen can extract extra performance

"You can extract more potential from the car if you can handle that kind of balance," Kerkhof continued.

"You could see it [in 2021] with the Mercedes of Valtteri [Bottas] and [Lewis] Hamilton – the car was very much on rails.

"Max was fighting a little bit more because that's what he needed to do to get the maximum from the car.

"Towards the end of [2022], the car came a bit more towards Max's liking and he could extract the extra performance and that's where the split between him and Sergio arises.

"It is a textbook driving style which is aggressive on the brakes, smooth off them, rotating at the right point. You can get within five-tenths, but that last five-tenths is dancing on a thin line, balancing the car.

"Stepping away from that textbook driving style, it needs to be adjusted in milimetres to have a positive effect on the balance.

"That's what he can do better than others, and it is something that [Charles] Leclerc is good at as well."

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