Max Verstappen feels he “f**ked up” the opening six races of the 2018 Formula 1 season before a change in approach inspired by his father helped kick-start his season.

Verstappen got caught up in incidents through each of the first six race weekends of the year, culminating in an FP3 crash in Monaco that put him out of qualifying, where teammate Daniel Ricciardo took pole en route to a race win one day later.

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Verstappen’s season has since picked up, taking wins in Austria and Mexico, plus seven further podium finishes to put himself in contention for P3 in the drivers’ championship heading to the final race of the year.

“This year, the first six races, I basically fucked up. Afterwards, we did a much better job,” Verstappen said last week in Brazil, reflecting on his 2018 campaign.

“It’s not really changing my approach to how I’m racing. I’m still the same person. I’m always going for the gap, you could see that in Mexico as well, I was there to win and not be second. 

“I just wanted it too much initially. I really wanted to try and challenge even with the package we had it was not possible.

“Sometimes my dad told me ‘when I’m going slow, I’m still going fast enough.’ I got that approach back after Monaco, and it seemed to make me faster than I was before, but without mistakes.”

Verstappen explained how the influence of his father, former F1 driver Jos, had been crucial to his change in approach and mindset this year.

“He’s the only one who really knows me,” Verstappen said.

“We share everything together, so I think it’s always good to reflect, and you can always improve which everybody can. That’s what we did.

“Of course in some critical situations, like it was in the beginning of the year, then of course you talk a lot about it. It would be wrong to be really stubborn and try to fix it yourself, then you always go back to the person who really knows you."

 

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