Formula One: Verstappen stays cool in Monaco spotlight

Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing during a press conference at Monte Carlo circuit in Monaco.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing during a press conference at Monte Carlo circuit in Monaco.PHOTO: EPA

Monaco (AFP) - Ten days on from his record-breaking feats in Spain, Max Verstappen was in the spotlight again on Wednesday as he faced the media ahead of this weekend's classic Monaco Grand Prix.

And just as he showed during his victory at the Circuit de Catalunya, the Dutch teenager was unflappable, calm and collected. Cool is simply not enough for this 18-year-old Dutchman.

"It was pretty crazy in Holland," he said. "Luckily I didn't go out too much on the streets... I just spent my time with family and friends."

Once he had recovered from his victory celebrations and done a day's testing back at the scene of his triumph, Verstappen began his new life as his nation's first Grand Prix winner and the youngest in the history of the sport. He relished the fun and felt no pressures.

"I try and turn it into positive pressure," he said. "As long as you're enjoying it, and you feel happy, then that's the most important thing...."

In Spain, he took full advantage of the gift that Mercedes threw his way when championship leader German Nico Rosberg collided with his team-mate defending three-time world champion Briton Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap.

He showed his talent and his mental strength, so remarkable in someone so young, by managing his race to victory.

On Wednesday, he was back to his normal ice-cold default setting.

"Mercedes are very strong, so it will be difficult to beat them," he said. "I'm still getting used to the car. It will take a few races before you're fully comfortable with the systems."

Like his humble father Jos, the only other Dutchman to have been on an F1 podium - back in 1994 - this racing driver keeps his feet firmly on the ground.

"It's not to be underestimated, what he's done, and it's great for F1," said Rosberg sitting alongside him.

"Your first GP win, you're over the moon," said three-time champion German Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari. "I'm sure he wants to feel that again... It's up to us to make sure it doesn't happen too often."