Max Verstappen reveals consequences of angering father as he lifts lid on tough schooling

Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out

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Max Verstappen has revealed the tough love given to him by father Jos as he embarked on his dream to become an F1 driver. Verstappen, 24, fulfilled his undoubted potential in 2021 by capturing the drivers’ title in sensational style, overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of a dramatic Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver and Hamiton had gone toe-to-toe throughout the season, with the fearless nature of Verstappen’s driving catching the eye as he amassed 10 Grand Prix wins in 22 races.

There were emotional scenes at the Yas Marina following his win, and the Dutchman later shared some private moments away from the track with his father, who he’s regularly cited as a major influence on his meteoric rise.

Indeed, despite a controversial and violent past, in which Verstappen Snr was arrested on numerous occasions for assault, he has been a constant alongside his son as he watched over his success from the sidelines.

Jos, 49, carved out his own F1 career and spent a decade racing with a number of teams, eventually finishing his career at Minardi in 2003.

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His best season came in 1994 with Benetton, where he notched two podium finishes and partnered German legend Michael Schumacher.

Following retirement, Verstappen turned his attentions to his son’s developing career, and now the newly crowned champion has spoken about the consequences of not being perceived to be giving everything to the cause.

“It wasn’t that my father always wanted me to win,” Verstappen told Auto Bild. “A second place was also okay for him if I got the maximum out of it. But as soon as he saw that I wasn’t giving 100 percent, he got really pi***d off. 

“I mean, really angry. He would invest his money in getting me into Formula One, he hammered into me. And that is why he expects that I will have to give it my all.”

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Verstappen Jnr started out with karting races and competed in Formula Three before joining Toro Rosso in 2014, and he cited one particular example of the tough love he received, which still inspires him to this day.

“Once I didn’t feel like it. My father noticed this and hit me on the helmet with full force. Everyone in the paddock noticed that.

“He just said: ‘If you keep driving like this, we’ll pack up and go home.’ I woke up, took pole position, won all six heats, the semifinals and the finals. Sometimes he still asks me today just for fun if he should hit my helmet again so that I can go faster.”

Verstappen isn’t likely to need to be motivated in 2022 either, now faced with the task of retaining his F1 title.

New technical regulations will come into the sport this season, designed to make the sport more competitive, which could see the dominance of Red Bull and Mercedes come under threat.

However, Verstappen has previously said he doesn’t envisage any additional pressure, adding what he achieves in his career from here will be a bonus for both he and his father.

In the meantime, question marks still hang over rival Hamilton’s future, with the British driver yet to speak publicly following the controversial finish in Abu Dhabi.

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