The stresses and strains of a very tight championship battle inevitably expose the personality traits of those in the hot centre of it all.
The competitive make-up of top-class athletes is a fascinating subject. The raw desire to win obviously features strongly, but in Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen it’s possible to discern also different levels of the fear of failure. The will to win and a fear of failure are, of course, intimately connected, but they are not the same. Both can be assets or liabilities in the particular demands of a high-pressure moment.
Verstappen is a man within the very weave of motor racing. His mother and father were both racers, and his childhood was spent in karting paddocks across Europe. Like a boy born in the circus, he was always going to be a performer within this circus. There was never any question of that. That these circumstances should coincide with a truly remarkable talent just completed the picture. It was nature and nurture combined. With ex-F1 father Jos, tough, down-to-earth, guiding him and negotiating a path through the shark-infested waters of the sport all the way up to F1, Max was able to relax into being what he was born to be.