Media playback is not supported on this device Max Verstappen says he wants to be more like Schumacher
Michael Schumacher has been a inspiration to me since I was very young, says Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman, 18, qualified on pole for the first time in his career in Malaysia as team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was given a 10-place grid penalty for using a reduced power unit.
Verstappen said he admired the seven-time world champion as a racer, not as a role model.
“I think he was very charismatic when he was young,” he said.
“It’s not the position I want to be in. I want to be more like the Michael that was in F1 a few years ago rather than the Michael that was before. But if I can learn that, I will.
“I have great admiration for him as a racer, just like everyone else. I learned a lot from that era.
“He was a good person and it would be nice to learn from him. I’m sure he’s not too bad looking either. It would be nice to have a chat with him.”
Verstappen took pole, by a margin of 0.908secs, for the final race of the season in Sepang as Ricciardo was docked a place for exceeding the maximum permitted engine temperature levels.
“It’s nice to take pole with Daniel, and it’s nice to put the Red Bull back up on the front,” said Verstappen.
“It is my first pole and it’s also two for Red Bull at Sepang – it’s nice for me and for the team.”
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull’s second driver, finished third, 0.946secs down on Verstappen.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal, also paid tribute to Verstappen, saying: “He’s a unique young man. It’s going to be exciting to see how he goes on in the future.
“He deserves it. It’s been a great year for us, a historic year, and getting on top of the car first and second both times, can’t be faulted, and then the pole is a nice little bonus.”
Kimi Raikkonen, who switched to Ferrari last season after more than a decade at Lotus, was fourth on his home race, 1.176secs down on Verstappen.
Force India’s Sergio Perez was fifth, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Haas driver Romain Grosjean.
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc was 13th.
Red Bull won the constructors’ championship with a perfect record of 23 races, following their victory in the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix.