Media playback is not supported on this device Max Verstappen delighted with ‘cool’ Suzuka qualifying session
Belgian Grand Prix on the BBC Venue: Spa-Francorchamps Dates: 27-29 October Coverage: Live qualifying and race coverage on BBC TV, Red Button, Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV. Full details.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says he is not the next Michael Schumacher but agrees he has a lot to learn.
The 20-year-old dominated the opening two practice sessions for the Belgian Grand Prix.
He is flying after winning three races since July and setting pole for three out of the four after qualifying on the front row.
“I am not Michael Schumacher,” he said. “I am, after all, an underdog, surrounded by many professionals. I’m just trying to do my best.
“But I have a lot to learn – a lot of things to improve on, and I expect that will take some time.”
Schumacher’s Ferrari are the only current car with which Verstappen has anything approaching the experience of the seven-time champion, although his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton has the experience of multiple championship victories to fall back on.
Verstappen said it was crucial to stick to the plan he had drawn up in advance of the year in the hope of gaining on teams that have bigger budgets.
Max Verstappen is aiming to become only the third driver to win at Spa in each of the last seven years
“It was very important for me to prepare well last year, the winter was very important for me,” he said.
“If I had been there and not prepared, it would have been so easy for those guys to train all those hours with the Ferrari on speed around this track. It would have been so easy for them.
“You’ve got to stop and think – I have to work harder than I was last year and that was the aim.”
And Verstappen warned that the situation was more difficult for those who have had to start from the back this season, but said it made good racing much more attractive to him.
“It’s more exciting when you’re lucky enough to be fighting for wins at the front,” he said.
“The level of races is not the same. But everything is so fun when you have the energy of fighting for wins, to go for a win. It’s always much more enjoyable when you go for a win.”