AlphaTauri manager remembers conversation with Verstappen well: ‘What nerves? This is my job

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AlphaTauri manager remembers conversation with Verstappen well: 'What nerves?  This is my job

Graham Watson, team manager at AlphaTauri, worked with a young and inexperienced Max Verstappen in 2015 and 2016. It has become clear over the years that Verstappen is a cool guy at tense moments, but the Limburger was also very calm under great pressure in 2015. Watson therefore expresses his appreciation for the three-time world champion and points out a clear difference with Hamilton.

Watson worked with Jos Verstappen several times at the start of his Formula 1 career, and moved to Toro Rosso in 2014, where he found success. In August 2014, it was announced that the then 16-year-old Max Verstappen would drive for the team in 2015, and even as a youngster, the collaboration with Verstappen was memorable for Watson, who also had some motorsport experience at a young age.

Verstappen not impressed by exciting moments

“I still remember my first race,” Watson says of a rally race in New Zealand. ‘I was sixteen years old, walking to the start, and I thought my helmet was going to fall off because I was shaking so much from the nerves. All that adrenaline and excitement… I once asked Max how he deals with his nerves,” Watson is quoted by ‘He said: What do you mean? I said, Well, you go to the grid, and then you sit there in one of those twenty cars. How do you manage your nerves and adrenaline when the red lights go out?’

‘Max looked at me and said, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Graham, I’ve been driving a car almost longer than you. I started with karts and have been doing so since I was six. This is my job. Of course there is some tension, but it’s not like I’m biting my nails and hoping I don’t make a mess. I thought that was very exceptional,” the New Zealander makes clear. “That answer has always stayed with me,” Watson says, concluding the anecdote.

Contrast between Hamilton and Verstappen

It is clear that the man, who has now become team manager of Red Bull Racing’s sister team, has a high regard for Verstappen. It also plays a role that Verstappen is a real ‘racing nerd’, as former teammate Daniel Ricciardo once described it. ‘My wife is sixty years old, but a big fan of Max. Because of his style, and because he creates excitement on the track. Max brings a whole new audience to Formula 1.”

‘Lewis Hamilton has a lot of talent, but is involved in so many things that people wonder: is he a Formula 1 driver or not? He’s associated with so many other things. Lewis Hamilton is a brand, Max Verstappen is a Formula 1 driver,” said Watson. ‘That won’t change either. I’m not saying what Hamilton is doing is wrong, but he’s not the nerd that Max is. If guys like that aren’t in the car, they’re in the simulator or the kart. They are always working to improve.”

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