Max Verstappen says it has been important for him to prove himself worthy of his F1 drive by pushing hard for results, adding that he feels he is getting 'better and better' all the time.
The Dutchman made history earlier this year by making his F1 debut aged just 17 years-old earlier this year for the Toro Rosso team, but while his signing proved controversial initially, the Dutchman has gone on to prove a frequent point-scorer.
Since claiming a landmark fourth place finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Verstappen has failed to score just once from the last eight races and is on course to end the season inside the overall top ten. Should he do so, he will become the first Toro Rosso driver since Sebastian Vettel in 2008 to achieve such the feat.
Indeed, Verstappen – son of former F1 driver Jos – admits it has been particularly crucial for him to do his talking on track having initially faced criticism off it.
“I had some critics, but for me it was all about having to show that they were wrong and I think so far I have proved that,” he told Crash.net
. “That's also the way I like to do it, I don't like to speak in the press what is right or wrong or to say they are wrong, I like to do it on the track because that's the most powerful response.”
“I think the older drivers in general, especially the ones who became world champion, are maybe a bit more unafraid and it's easier for them to say 'that they are too hard on me' with overtaking, but they are exactly the same if they are in that situation.
“They have a championship-winning car for the podium and we are fighting to get up there. You try to do everything you can and they were like that also in the beginning of their careers. So I don't see any reason to change that. I'm a fighter, I'm not someone who backs off.”
Having comfortably out-performed fellow rookie team-mate Carlos Sainz and is now 29 points clear of him in the standings, with two rounds of the season remaining, he feels he can only get stronger as a driver.
“It has been very positive and I think a very strong performance. I think especially in the two races before the summer break and then we continued afterwards. I'm enjoying it a lot, I've made some good overtakes, which I enjoy of course, and scored some good points. Definitely, it's getting better and better all the time.”