Formula One

Max Verstappen reveals ‘my best friend on the grid’


Drivers can be friendly in Formula 1, but it’s hard to be friends. Yet Max Verstappen says he enjoys a close relationship with one “super nice guy” on the grid.

It’s unrealistic in such a high strung and competitive world such as Formula 1 to expect drivers to be best friends. However, it’s not uncommon for teammates to hang out with each other away from the track, although such connections are often governed by a sense of respect rather than a deep feeling of camaraderie.

Verstappen has known countryman and F1 rookie Nyck de Vries for many tears, and indeed the pair get along quite well. But the Red Bull driver points to one of his direct rivals – McLaren’s Lando Norris – as his “best friend” in F1.

“I get on really well with Lando because he is just himself and normal. He is my best friend on the grid,” the two-time world champion told the Daily Mail.

“He loves what he is doing. I could see clearly from years ago in go-karting that he was very quick – though we never raced against each other. Everything just came to him really naturally as a driver.

“Good performances were not just one-offs or hit and miss; he was always up at the front.

“So it was clear he was always going to be here. Some people are quick but don’t know why or how to explain it.”

While Norris’ former McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz remains his go-to gold partner, the Briton also spends time away from the track with Verstappen in Monaco from where the pair often travel together to races.

Verstappen enjoys Norris’ company, but the Dutchman has also been impressed by his friend’s personal development which has benefitted him as a driver.

“Lando knows what he is doing, and that is good for McLaren,” he added.

“When he first joined Formula One he was a bit overwhelmed.

“Lando can be a little shy but he is a super nice guy and you can see, from year one to now, how he has grown as a person – and that helps his performance because he has more confidence in himself.”

Many believe that if McLaren fails to supply a winning car to Norris in the next couple of seasons, he could find himself sitting opposite Verstappen in the Red Bull garage.

If that happens, the pair’s friendship could become a lot more complex over time. Wait and see.

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Max Verstappen reveals ‘my best friend on the grid’

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