Max Verstappen insists that he will not be heading into the Monaco Grand Prix weekend looking to do anything any different now that he's an F1 race winner.
The Dutchman scooped an unlikely debut win for Red Bull Racing at the recent Spanish Grand Prix but knows that he was helped massively by both Mercedes being eliminated within four corners of the start. With that in mind, the teenager isn't harbouring hopes of back-to-back wins as he heads to Monaco.
“We'll see,” he smiled, “I'm going to approach it in the same was I did in Barcelona and we'll see where that ends up. At the moment, Mercedes still looks very strong but we'll try to find a really good set-up in the car and try to get very comfortable on this track because, in the end, what's important to go fast.”
Rather than targeting the likes of Mercedes, for whom Nico Rosberg has won the last three Monaco races, Verstappen will have to deal with Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who wants to prove a point after seeing his early lead in Barcelona translate into an eventual fourth place. The Dutchman is under no illusions that Ricciardo is a match for him, but insists that there is still more to come from his side of the garage.
“As a driver, you always feel you are the faster one!” he pointed out, “But Daniel's a great driver, you can clearly see that. From my side, I was still getting used to the car [when out-qualified by the Australian] and, even in the race, I was still getting used to the car because it was the first time I was doing a race in the car.
“We'll see. I was feeling good. In the test after the race, I learned again some very important things about the car, how to get it better for me in qualifying terms, but that's all a process and it will only start to get better. Even here, I will learn again and it will take a few races before you are fully comfortable with all the systems.
“We'll see what happens now in the next few races. I'll just stay calm, try and do the best I can and, from there on, see what position that is.”
Verstappen's win in Barcelona has naturally ramped up the attention he received in his homeland – he called the reaction 'crazy' after breaking his duck – but reckons that he will be able to cope with the extra burden that might bring.
“I think every driver has pressure, but I turn it into positive
pressure,” he explained, “As long as you're enjoying it and you feel happy, then I think that's the most important [requirement] to have success. In the end, I always try to do my best and I think that takes a lot of pressure away as well.”
Despite Verstappen's breakthrough, Ricciardo will get first call on the latest updates from engine supplier Renault, and the Dutchman thinks that it should be a benefit.
“I think it was a very positive step,” he said after finding half a second a lap with the revised V6 in the recent Barcelona test, “I felt very comfortable with it and it was very positive that we gained so much because it's not so easy to find that out of the car. I'm looking forward to using it in Canada...”