Verstappen stays cool, says title 'won't change his life'

Istanbul (AFP) –


Max Verstappen on Thursday declared that he is not overly stressed by his Formula One title battle with Lewis Hamilton and said finishing second "would not really change my life".

The Dutchman, who is two points adrift of seven-time champion Hamilton ahead of this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix, told reporters he enjoyed his job, always does his best for Red Bull and would still feel good even if he finished second.

"I always do my best and I know the team is also doing the best that they can," said Verstappen. "If we are going to be first at the end of the year, that is, of course, an amazing achievement. That is all we work for right?

"But even if we finish second, I think we still would have had a great season and at the end of the day, it is not really going to change my life. I enjoy what I am doing and I think that is very important.

"For me, there is not much to worry about really... You shouldn't really stress.

"I know that my team does the best they can and they expect that from me and I always try to get the best out of that."

Verstappen was questioned by reporters following Hamilton's recent reflections on how stressful he had found his own first championship scrap, in his rookie season in 2007.

But he declined to rise to veiled suggestions that he felt any extra pressure, despite slipping behind the Mercedes driver.

- Verstappen a 'narrow favourite'? -

With seven races remaining, Verstappen is regarded by many as a very narrow favourite because Hamilton still has to take a fourth new power unit and with it a grid penalty.

But Verstappen does not see it that way.

"I don't see myself as a bigger favourite for the title than Lewis," he said. "We just have to make sure we perform well in the last races, that's the most important thing.

"It doesn't matter if you are favourite or not. The next races will be tough. I also don't know if we will have the fastest car or be a bit behind... that will vary from circuit to circuit. It will be an exciting battle."

Verstappen gained support on Thursday from two-time champion Fernando Alonso.

"He seems to deal with the pressure better than other people," said Alonso. "Everyone is different, but it seems that for him it is not a big deal. Every weekend he takes race by race and I think that is the right approach."

Verstappen celebrated his 24th birthday last week, the same age at which Alonso won his first world title in similar circumstances.

"I was fighting for my first world championship against a seven-time world champion at that time -- Michael (Schumacher),"said Alonso. "Now it is Lewis.

"We had full blue grandstands in Barcelona and now we have full orange in Zandvoort so there are lots of similarities... let's see how it finishes."