Verstappen targeting 4th in championship in AD

F1i 19/11/2016
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Max Verstappen.

The 19-year-old heads to Abu Dhabi in fifth place in the standings, five points behind Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. With team-mate Daniel Ricciardo having already secured third place in the championship, Verstappen says his aim for the final race is to ensure both Red Bull drivers beat the Ferraris.

“I just try to get a very good result,” Verstappen told a Hisense Facebook Live session. “I’m still fighting for fourth in the championship so hopefully we can have a go at that. Hopefully the track will suit our car but we’ve still got to wait and see how that’s going to pan out, but I’m quite confident.”

Verstappen is targeting Vettel having had a number of disagreements with the four time world champion this season, but when asked how their relationship is the Dutch driver replied: “Good.

“We had a phone call as well [after Mexico] and I think we cleared a lot of stuff and that was fine. I think the relationship is good, no real issues there. No, absolutely not [any hard feelings] At the end of the day we are racing drivers so we get over it very quickly.”

Verstappen is currently the youngest winner of an F1 race but Vettel holds the title of youngest world champion at 23 years old. Asked if he has set himself a target of breaking any other records, Verstappen insists it is not something he thinks about.

“No, absolutely not. I just wait and see. You need a bit of luck as well, you need to be in the right car to achieve those things. So I just need to wait and see what happens in the future, I just try and do the best possible job I can every year and every race.”

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Berger: Verstappen just like Senna

F1i 16/11/2016
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Two of a kind: Verstappen and Senna

Max Verstappen’s remarkable demonstration of talent this year, since he graduated to Red Bull Racing, has been breathtaking.

The young Dutch prodigy won his first race in Spain but has also offered glimpses of greatness and shades of Senna on multiple occasions, like in Brazil last Sunday.

“Yes, when I see Max, Senna comes to my mind,” Berger admitted.

“This is the first time I say something like this, because I was really close to Ayrton and I think he was the greatest.

“In his personality, his driving, his results, his preparation. He was different to everyone.

“I’ve always respected that and so I avoided comparisons, but with Max it’s hard not to.”

Like everyone, Berger was obviously impressed with the Red Bull drivers’ mastering of the elements at Interlagos and the sheer flair he demonstrated as he charged through the field in the closing stages of the race, and earned himself a spot on the podium.

“It was awesome. He was always trying new lines, even behind the safety car he was studying the circuit. Engineers from other teams were even telling their drivers to imitate him.

“He knew exactly what to do, and it’s amazing at his age. He sought and found impossible lines, making the others look like schoolboys.

“His control of the car, as he saw in the incident on the straight was crazy.”

Berger refuted however claims from critics who insist that Verstappen is too arrogant.

“Someone like him can afford it,” was the Austrian’s laconic response.

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Inside Line F1 podcast: Hamilton takes it to the wire in AD

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Scroll down to listen to the podcast.

The 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix could have given Formula 1 a new World Champion, but it didn’t. However, it confirmed a fact that didn’t need much confirming – that Max Verstappen is absolute World Champion material. Irrespective of the outcome of the World Drivers’ Championship, 2016 will be remembered for the brilliance of Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton won his first-ever race in Ayrton Senna’s land ensuring that Abu Dhabi hosts the title decider yet again. We guess that Bernie Ecclestone and the UAE-backers would be very pleased given the substantial investment that goes into hosting the season ending race.

On the inside Line F1 Podcast this week, we laugh along with Fernando Alonso’s sense of humour. He was a horrible cameraman, but hey, at least he gave us a good giggle. Alonso also said that F1 should pay fans to watch the sport. Though ironically, thanks to all his engine woes, Alonso has been the sports highest paid viewer for the better part of the last two seasons [zing!].

The success of the wet race in Brazil makes us wonder whether Bernie’s sprinkler idea is all that bad after all! Pirelli’s extreme wet tyres are so bad, but then we guess that’s true of all their tyres. Felipe Massa had an emotional farewell in Brazil, and we are sure that Jenson Button was slightly jealous – though that’s the price you pay for not making up your mind! And a gutsy Sergio Perez dumped his new sponsor on Twitter for a joke that clearly wasn’t funny.

Finally, the big question: As we head to the title decider in Abu Dhabi, who is going to emerge as World Champion? Tune in below…

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