Straight talking Max Verstappen usually calls it as it is says his Redline virtual racing team mate and fellow Dutchman Atze Kerkhof. “How I know Max is completely different from how the world sees him,” Kerkhof said in a recent Team Redline interview. “What we do very well in Holland is that we always speak the truth, in terms of what we think – we’re quite direct.
Kerkhof continues to explain, ”Max is very ‘Dutch’ when it comes to his communication. He’s very direct and it helps him a lot and the people around him, because you know exactly what he means and what he wants to say, and he’s just always direct.”
Verstappen serious sim racer
“Whatever he says in his personal life is often what he says in the media, so it’s actually what he really thinks – which makes him unique.”
The double F1 world champion is a keen sim racer when not fulfilling his F1 duties and has been preparing for months for the virtual Le Mans race set to take place over January 14-15th. Verstappen has competed in there event since its inception in 2020 and crashed out of the 2022 event whilst leading the race.
“I started racing [in video games] with a controller way back when I was four or five years old,” Verstappen told the Washington Post in the week.
“I don’t really have a lot of free time anymore to compete in big sim races, but this one is very important to me and the team – and we’re hoping for a great weekend to bring home the win.”
Max loves the WEC
When asked why the Le Mans event is particularly important to him, the Red Bull driver explained: “Well, I love endurance racing in general, I love the track, and I just like good competition.
“A lot of great teams are participating, so all of that comes together to make this a very fun race for me.”
Max explains the terms treat the virtual Le Mans like a real race.
“We’re fine-tuning the car’s set-up and testing it in the hottest and coldest conditions, in rainy and dry weather, and in both night and day,” explained the double world champion.
“There are weeks of preparation that go into this, and a lot of people don’t realise that.”
Verstappen philosophical about Le Mans crash
When asked whether he felt this year was an opportunity to make amends for his mistake while leading the 2022 event, Verstappen said, “These things happen in Formula 1 too. You’ll crash, and people will ask, ‘Are you looking for payback or redemption?’”
“But I never look at it like that. Last year, that was a very big and unnecessary mistake, and I felt sorry for my teammates because we could have won the championship.
“For this year, I just want to have a strong race – we’ve put everything into this, now it’s up to us to go deliver.”
However, it was all going to end in tears for Verstappen who had built up a lead of over a minute during the evening portion of the race. Suddenly his screen went black as the server hosting the event went down.
Furious Verstappen calls out incompetence
When Max’s screen returned his car then stalled in the garage for several minutes and despite fighting back from 17th to 14th, the team decided to retire the car which was 2 laps down from the leader.
The organisers suffered a number of problems and were forced to red flag the event following two other servers failing and disconnecting other drivers as happened to Verstappen.
A furious Max Verstappen called on everyone to “uninstall the game.”
Verstappen was direct at voicing his opinion: “They call it amazingly bad luck…well this is just incompetence,”
“They can’t even control their own game. This the third time already that has happened to me now, being kicked off the game while doing this race.
“This is also the last time ever because what’s the point? You prepare for five months to try and win this Championship, you are leading the Championship, you try to win this race which you have prepared for for two months and they handle it like this.
Verstappen: “its a clown show”
“Honestly, it is a joke. You cannot even call it an event. It’s a clown show.
“That’s why it’s better to retire the car because driving around in P15 for six hours makes no sense for everyone. It’s a disgrace with all the effort we have put in as a team.
“I really hope the organisers consider where they put this game going forward because on this platform it’s not going to work.
“It’s game over. I think I have more chance if I just go to Vegas and the casino…I would have more chance to win.
“I think I’m going to uninstall the game. That’s nice…frees up a bit of space on the PC anyway. And I really hope everyone uninstalls the game.”
It seems Max went very, very Dutch.
. @LeMansVirtual is over and I had a lot of fun. Sim racing is super competitive and seeing one of the biggest race in the world being done on sim is awesome. Yes, few bits and pieces to improve, but isn't that just like everywhere else ? thank you @MSportgames for the event https://t.co/QQDp66Pqze
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) January 15, 2023