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Verstappen: "In racing, nobody talks about death"

  • Published on 27 Jan 2018 12:26
  • comments 9
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen claims that nobody in racing speaks about death, as its necessary to accept the risk that comes with it. The Dutchman took part in a detailed interview with broadcaster Ziggo Sports, in which he was shown a series of photographs.

The most recent F1 racing-related death came at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, when Jules Bianchi made contact with a crane that was out to bring away another crashed car. Upon being shown a picture of Bianchi's funeral, Verstappen, who made his free practice debut the very same weekend, said: "The accident happened at the Japanese Grand Prix at which I made my debut in free practice.

"It was bittersweet. I didn’t know him. He was already an F1 driver, whereas I just arrived. It was tragic. You instantly knew something was wrong; there was no movement after such a massive impact with the crane. It’s awful, but there are always risks.

"Personally, I’ve seen someone die on the race track before. In 2009, during a karting event, I saw someone being reanimated and I knew it was bad. A few hours later, we got confirmation. Again, it’s not great, but you have to move on. You cannot be scared in this sport. If you are, you can’t give it your best. In racing, nobody talks about death."

Following his Grand Prix debut in 2015, Verstappen has picked up three Grand Prix victories and a further eight podiums. Since his promotion to Red Bull, he has enjoyed a strong and healthy relationship with teammate Daniel Ricciardo, admitting its unusual for teammates to get along so well.

"It’s unusual to get on this well with a teammate," he said. "Normally you would go your own way, but we get on really well. I don’t think we’ll see this type of friendship too often in Formula 1. Having said that, we don’t really hang out outside the paddock but at the circuit we’re friends with a lot of respect for each other."

The pair's relationship was tested when contact was made between them at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix, which eliminated Ricciardo from the race. Despite some immediate tension the situation blew over, but Verstappen admits that he understood why Ricciardo was upset following the incident.

"I understood why Daniel was so angry afterwards. We laughed about the whole incident later, but in the heat of the moment, emotions run high. I would’ve been the same had it been the other way around. It wouldn’t be right if we weren’t emotional in those moments, especially if you want to be the best and win. We’re not in this for second place!"

 

Fergal Walsh

Replies (9)

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  • I really dont like talking about someone else as disrespectful, but he really makes it sound like Bianchi's death was something acceptable. It isnt. Death shouldnt be something acceptable. It doesnt contribute to the show or motorsport as a whole. I want my favourite drivers to be able to go out there and push to max, knowing they can do so with little consequence to their health. And I sincerely hope that the sentence "It was bittersweet." is a product of mistranslation, because there was nothing bittersweet about Bianchi's accident. It was a dark day, period. Nothing even remotely sugarflavoured about it.

    • + 0
    • Jan 27 2018 - 13:22
    • Pauli

      Posts: 140

      bittersweet for a whole weekend I think. His dream of driving F1 car had justcome true. But it wasn't as happy memory as it should have been because of Bianchi's accident.

      • + 0
      • Jan 27 2018 - 15:31
    • @calle.itw

      Why you think Max was disrespectful?

      "You instantly knew something was wrong; there was no movement after such a massive impact with the crane. It’s awful, but there are always risks."

      Realistic yes, but disrespectful? What @Pauli said. It was his first weekend in F1, so for him bittersweet. Bitter because of the heavy accident of a fellow driver. Sweet because the trill of driving a F1 car in his first weekend F1. You can't blame a person to have mixed feelings.

      • + 0
      • Jan 28 2018 - 11:55
    • I believe I was pretty clear with that, but I dont like how he says the risk of getting killed should be something they should accept. Tragedies like what happened to Bianchi and Senna isnt acceptable. And the choice of referring to that weekend as bittersweet... Even if its his first chance in F1 and so on, I still find that unsuitable. Sure, its nice and all that he got his first try, but someone was killed.

      • + 0
      • Jan 28 2018 - 12:26
    • @calle.itw

      "It’s awful, but there are always risks."

      That's a general view most drivers have. He never said it's ok people can die doing this kind of sport. You put words in some ones mouth. If some one in your street die because of a freak traffic accident. You notice driving a car could be dangerous. But you keep on going.Nothing less.

      • + 0
      • Jan 28 2018 - 17:13
    • Do you accept the risk of driving to work in the morning knowing how many accidents kill people on the roads? Do you catch the tube/train knowing the risk that there have been terrorist attacks on these modes of transport. Do you work in multi story buildings knowing people have died in earthquakes and fires in these type of buildings. By going to work every day you accept these risks and the chance of death. You clearly not cowering at home hoping you survive the day. Same goes for racing drivers, they go to work knowing the risks. Sometimes they won't come back from work, same holds for most people in the world. If you don't want to take the risk then don't do it. By the way, we had an incident over the weekend where the one single seater T boned another, possible broken bones and both cars were pretty bent. I still went out racing and carrying on.

      • + 0
      • Jan 29 2018 - 05:35
    • It wasn't disrespectful. You didn't see the interview, you just read a summary here. He really was talking about the death of Bianca with respect. He didn't know him personally, and in this story they walk through it as if he just mentions it. Bottom line is, if they are getting scared, it will be the end of their F1 carreer

      • + 0
      • Jan 29 2018 - 08:56
  • Calle.Itw:
    I have seen the whole interview and he was not disrespectful about Bianchi's death.
    He only said that it was a very sad accident and that he had absolutely no chance of surviving under that crane but unfortunatley these things occur sometimes.
    We racers all know that something terrible can happen, but that's not something you think about too much,otherwise you should not race at all.
    That is all he said about the Bianchi accedent so nothing wrong with his word i.m.o.
    It was on dutch television last week.

    • + 0
    • Jan 27 2018 - 14:23
  • Clearly the way this was edited made it seem worse. Nevertheless, Max is right. Or at least was right up until Jules Bianchi death, which was obviously horrific and tragic. Now several or the drivers talk as if we were in 1958, racing with no seatbelts or guardrails. The whole discussion about the halo got out of control and people wanted to do something a the halo was a 'something.' People also forget that the two reasons behind Jules accident were (1) driver negligence, failing to slow down enough and (2) a crane on track. Both of this reasons have been addressed with changes to policies and virtual safety cars.

    • + 0
    • Jan 27 2018 - 22:48

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