Max Verstappen Offers Key Advice for Kimi Antonelli

"Just let it go. When you're talented – and you can see that with Kimi, he's very talented – I don't think you should be too worried."

by Sead Dedovic
Max Verstappen Offers Key Advice for Kimi Antonelli
© Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images Sport

Max Verstappen, in a media interview, commented on Mercedes and the fact that they will be without Lewis Hamilton from next season. The Briton will continue his career at Ferrari, while Mercedes will seek a suitable replacement for him. One of the names that is most mentioned is young Kimi Antonelli

The 17-year-old is currently part of F2, with ambitions to make a leap forward from next season and become part of Mercedes in F1. One of the options is also Max Verstappen, although many consider it not a very realistic option. 

Ahead of another Monaco GP, the Dutchman spoke about the young Italian and what it takes for him to progress as a driver. Verstappen emphasized that both good and bad moments can be great lessons for the future, and it is necessary for Antonelli to experience such moments. Furthermore, focusing too much on one's mistakes, shortcomings, and the like isn't really the best solution.

“But yeah, just, you know, going through the good moments, the bad moments, how you come out of these things, difficult weekends, where it's just not working for you or whatever. Like, there's so much to learn."- he said, as quoted by MIRROR.

Verstappen emphasized that Antonelli is a talented driver, which he has demonstrated many times in the past. This is also the reason why the leaders of Mercedes have immense confidence in him.

"But on the other hand, also, don't try to think about it too much. Just let it go. When you're talented – and you can see that with Kimi, he's very talented – I don't think you should be too worried, you know, just... make mistakes. I mean you have to make mistakes."- Verstappen continued.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen© Mark Thompson/Getty Images Sport

Verstappen highlighted the importance of timing when it comes to making mistakes, ideally preferring to make them when not contending for championships. He cited his own fortunate circumstances, starting his career at Toro Rosso when there was less scrutiny, allowing him to learn from his errors without excessive pressure. 

Verstappen already showed his immense talent back then, but also his ability to handle pressure. Even as a 17-year-old, the Dutchman impressed everyone with his maturity and focus on F1 tracks. Several years later, he became the F1 champion and expressed gratitude to the leaders of Red Bull for their patience and trust.

Despite the desire to avoid mistakes, Verstappen emphasized the necessity for personal growth. He explained that merely telling yourself what not to do isn't as effective as experiencing and learning from mistakes firsthand. Only through this process of adaptation and progression can one truly move forward. Verstappen has learned from his mistakes many times before and applied that to the future. It's impressive how much the Dutchman has matured and become a respectable F1 driver.

The Red Bull driver believes that in general, Antonelli should develop relationships with people within the team, thus growing as a person, even outside the car. It's essential for him to know what he wants in his personal life, beyond the spotlight of the big stage. Additionally, Max emphasizes that understanding the car setup is crucial, but it will all come with time. The Dutchman stresses that by competing for one team, over time, it will become clear what needs to be worked on and what doesn't.

The 26-year-old believes that when you're with the same kind of race engineers who are striving for your progress, you also grow as a person by spending time with them. He thinks there's no need to focus too much on every detail; it's essential to surrender to the process and enjoy the moments. Putting pressure on yourself is the last thing you want to do. Verstappen had the opportunity to learn from his mistakes, so his advice can be crucial for everyone, including Antonelli.

“Being with the same kind of race engineers and people around you that fine tune the car for you, all these kind of things, the more you spend time with them, the more it comes to you. But again, don't try to think about it too much, just let it happen."- he continued.

Max Verstappen's reaction

Verstappen believes that being young has its advantages, emphasizing the need to focus on going fast and not being afraid to make mistakes. Additionally, Max thinks one shouldn't focus too much on errors. Although he says it's easy to look at things from this perspective now, during his own early driving days, he didn't have this clarity.

The Dutchman had massive trust in the Red Bull leadership and emphasizes that Antonelli should also trust the Mercedes executives to have his best interests at heart. However, the question remains whether the 17-year-old will become part of this team next season or in the future in general.

Toto Wolff, the Mercedes boss, is ready to give him a chance, although he has often stated that Antonelli still needs to mature and progress.

Max Verstappen