Despite getting off to a rather poor start at the beginning of last season, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ended the year on a really high note, scoring more points in the second half of 2018 than everyone except world champion Lewis Hamilton.
However, according to Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, the young Dutchman still has room to improve, especially since it was his behavior on the track at the start of last year that eventually cost him a place in the top three of the driver’s standings.
“He did already a very positive step by being enthusiastic and concentrating with his testing,” said Marko during an interview with Sky Sports. “Before, testing was a little bit boring for him – he just saw it as a duty. Now he understands it’s very, very important, his input for the engineers to develop the car.”
“We had some discussions and patience is one thing for sure he will show [in 2019]. He also understood if he can’t win it’s important to make points, finish races. Otherwise you won’t win a championship.”
“He’s mature now, he’s still very young but he’s far more mature and he feels happy, all the visibility of the engine, we heard on the radio he wasn’t happy sometimes, and I think both he and the team goes with a lot of confidence into the season,” concluded the Red Bull exec.
This upcoming season will be Verstappen’s first ever without Daniel Ricciardo by his side as his teammate. His place is now taken by former Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, with Ricciardo having joined Renault in a bid to someday fight for a championship.