Max Verstappen 'justified fans' confidence' in him with maiden F1 crown - Mario Andretti

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Former Formula 1 champion Mario Andretti reckons that Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is "in a good place" mentally after winning the F1 championship and will only get better.

Having been crowned F1 Champion after the dramatic Abu Dhabi victory, in the last face of the 2021 season, Andretti says, heading into the 2022 season and beyond, Verstappen will be in a more relaxed frame of mind.

24-year-old Verstappen said winning the title would not change much in his life, but Andretti begs to differ, saying when he was in the same boat after winning the F1 crown in 1978, it helped him mentally with a more laid-back and serene attitude.

Andretti told RacingNews365: "You can say all you want, but once you accomplish your ultimate goal, a lot of pressure comes off your shoulders. There's no better situation than being more relaxed. Sometimes, you just do things even better when you're in that frame of mind.

"He's in a very good place. He fought so hard, and now he probably relishes to try to repeat it. That's what drives you; that's what keeps you motivated. But at least he has that one under his belt, which is huge. I can only express my thoughts on a situation like that; when you accomplish something that's your ultimate goal.

"When you finally do it, oh my goodness, from there on things are all better!"

Max Verstappen,red bull,f1,formula 1,formula one
Max Verstappen

Treated differently

Andretti added that by being the F1 champion, Verstappen would be treated differently by the sport's fans and his rivals.

Speaking once again from personal experience, Andretti explained: "When you achieve something like that, usually the fans have a different appreciation. You could see how strong Verstappen's fan base was, by showing these orange plumes [of smoke] and all that. You had grandstands full of them!

"You have justified their confidence in you, and you know that they have a special appreciation now that you've done it, so it's all good. All of those things are positive, and that's what you work for; that's what you sweat for.

"It never comes easy. That's why, when you finally do it, the right people actually appreciate it, and they show it to you. Things will never be the same; they'll be better. There's also respect. There's a certain degree of respect that you gain, even from your competitors, whether they show it or not."

Max Verstappen,red bull,f1,formula 1,formula one
Max Verstappen
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