Max Verstappen admits there were times in 2018 that he needed to be criticized by Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko for his mistakes in order to improve.
The Dutchman made a number of errors during the early part of the season, colliding with Sebastian Vettel with a chance of victory in sight in China, as well as crashing out of final practice in Monaco and missing qualifying. Both races were eventually won by teammate Daniel Ricciardo, and Verstappen admits the way he and Red Bull dealt with those weekends had an impact on his performances later in the season.
“The first six races weren’t exactly positive, but I learned a lot,” Verstappen told Servus TV. “It definitely helped in the later races.
“All my life I worked together with my dad, and he is very tough too. Ultimately, that’s a good thing. It brought me to F1, of course with the support of Red Bull and Helmut.
“But you have to stay critical and that was necessary after those weekends in China and Monaco. We talked about it. These things can’t happen but sometimes you need to go through it to become stronger.”
Looking ahead to the 2019 season with Honda, Verstappen is encouraged by the atmosphere at Red Bull but played down the team’s strong finish to 2018, saying it has little impact on the following season.
“It’s difficult to say as we don’t know what the others are doing. From our end, things are positive and everybody is really motivated. That’s important and wonderful to see.
“I don’t think [finishing strongly] really matters a lot, we just need to make sure that from the start, that we are a little bit closer so we can actually start fighting with them a bit sooner, because it seems like that throughout the season our car just keeps progressing in a good way.
“That definitely helped us out at the end of the season again (in both 2017 and 2018). We just need to be a little bit sooner than at the end of the season.”