Verstappen very much his own man
Red Bull's Dutch ace says he idolises no one, not even his former racer dad
In a sport where the greatest are celebrated and every Formula One driver has their particular role model they try to emulate, Max Verstappen has none.
Not even Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost or Michael Schumacher, multiple champions who have had a big influence on the careers of many brilliant racing drivers.
At 18, the Red Bull ace became the youngest race winner in F1 history when he took the chequered flag at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona in 2016.
Two more followed in Malaysia and Mexico the following year and two months ago, he won the Austrian Grand Prix.
The Dutchman also had 12 other podium finishes, including four in the current season.
Verstappen has been hailed as a future champion and ahead of the 11th Singapore Grand Prix this Sunday, told The New Paper he does not even idolise dad Jos, who raced in F1 between 1994 and 2003.
Although the elder Verstappen had never won any Grands Prix, he was an aggressive driver and highly respected. He was also on the radar of the big teams.
"I never had an idol or hero in racing or other sports," said Verstappen, who will turn 21 on Sept 30, on the sidelines of Esso and Mobil 1's "Supreme Showdown" at the Scape at Orchard Link yesterday.
"I have never had any posters of any of them in my room. I was always very focused on how to improve on my own.
"And I see my dad as dad. Of course, he taught me a lot about how to be a professional driver, how to behave and understand the technical side of Formula 1, but I don't see him as my idol or hero because he's my dad."
Verstappen added Jos attends about 50 per cent of his races but they don't discuss his performances much, leaving him free to grow independently with every Grand Prix.
At the night race at the Marina Bay street circuit, the Dutchman had an impressive performance during his debut year with Toro Rosso in 2015, finishing eighth.
He was placed sixth after he moved to Red Bull in 2016 and retired after a collision with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the start of last year's race.
But Red Bull have had a difficult season, with Verstappen retiring thrice and teammate Daniel Ricciardo, six times.
He is adrift by more than 120 points from the two championship contenders, leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Vettel, but believes a podium finish is within reach.
"I just hope in qualifying we don't lack horsepower from Ferrari and Mercedes," added Verstappen.
"As long as we are in a decent window, then, I think we can have a good result on Sunday.
"We have a strong car, the best in the field but down on power, and we have to compensate for this with a good position in qualifying.
"If there is going to be a win, I am not sure, but we definitely can fight for a podium."
With 23 corners, the Singapore street track is unpredictable, and many of the best have been undone there.
Compounded by the humid climate, drivers have had a love-hate relationship with it, but Verstappen relishes the challenge.
He said: "I love driving on the track with its great sequence of corners, but it really is warm in the car.
"That's how it is, I work out for it and train really well to prepare for this race."