Written by Staff Writer at CNN
F1 driver Max Verstappen says he does not want to emulate the retired Michael Schumacher.
“For me it’s too early to say I want to be Michael Schumacher,” he said at the ISM Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.
“For me he is already a legend in F1 and for me he was an incredible driver, but for me not yet to talk about that. I’ve not met him, I haven’t seen him and there’s no talk about me following in his footsteps.”
Newly-crowned world champion Sebastian Vettel warned Verstappen that any attempt to emulate the iconic German would be a step too far.
“With many people, one person is not enough,” said the four-time champion, who edged his German rival by a single point at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, to ensure that 2017 marked his third title.
Vettel also warned Verstappen that having emerged as a leading driver, he “couldn’t ignore” any advice offered by Schumacher, the seven-time champion and Ferrari legend.
It follows reports that in a tense defeat in Barcelona last month, Verstappen admitted to a German newspaper that he wanted to emulate Schumacher and later said: “If I had my way, Schumacher would still be racing, but not now.”
Never go slower than 200 km/h on the new 180mph V6 turbo hybrid power units
Verstappen’s comments came as Ferrari introduced radical new technology into its cars at the season-opening race in Australia in March.
The V6 turbo hybrid power units, which have been optimised to help overtake — a concept that came under scrutiny following the chaos that struck in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix — are expected to produce an unprecedented level of speed, change and complexity.
– The V6 turbo hybrid engines, which have been optimised to help overtake — a concept that came under scrutiny following the chaos that struck in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix –
Max Verstappen test drives Ferrari’s newest car in Abu Dhabi
After several days of windtunnel testing last month, Verstappen told the Bild newspaper that the new power units were “on another level altogether.”
However, F1 legend Schumacher is not the only F1 driver to have been worried about losing his overall record.
Briton Lewis Hamilton, the four-time champion, said at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday that Mercedes were quietly confident they can displace Ferrari as champions at the end of this season.
At the same time, Verstappen, who has already secured a move to Red Bull next season, was quick to score points in his appeal to a new generation of Ferrari fans.
“I really want to be like their (Ferrari) friend,” he said of some of the Italian team’s drivers, including four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
“I’m trying to get with this group and I’d be a good mate of theirs, you know, a good lad.”