Max Verstappen: ‘If you don’t believe you can do it, it’s better to stay home’

The Red Bull driver says self-analysis and experience means he is as confident as ever heading into the 2019 F1 season

Never one to lack faith in his own abilities Max Verstappen is, as ever, brimming with confidence before his fifth season in Formula One. Such is his prodigious talent and indeed his assurance in it, the popular conception is that it was ever thus. Yet on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix Verstappen unusually admits that even he once harboured shades of doubt. They are, of course, now long-since dismissed, summarily dealt with in the forge that has made his personality so strong, a process he concedes that was tough as a child but from which has emerged a world championship contender.

Now 21, Verstappen started karting aged four, encouraged by his father Jos, who raced in F1 in the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2015, at 17, Verstappen became the youngest driver to compete in a grand prix, a year later he was the youngest to win a race, in Spain for Red Bull, the team for whom he still drives. He has been impossible to ignore, his talent braced by a self-belief of positively belligerent conviction. He is outspoken, entertaining and F1 must hope he is the future. It is the past that has defined why he believes he will be.

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