The student news site of Clark Magnet High School

Clark Chronicle

The student news site of Clark Magnet High School

Clark Chronicle

The student news site of Clark Magnet High School

Clark Chronicle

Max Verstappen: Racing resilience in the face of unjust criticism

Max Verstappen after claiming his first world title in Abu Dhabi 2021.

The impact of COVID-19 is apparent in the emergence of new hobbies and interests among many individuals. While some individuals developed a passion for hiking or knitting, others discovered a renewed enthusiasm for athletics. Formula 1, for example, has been experiencing extraordinary levels of popularity. According to Forbes magazine, the “total attendance for 2022 was 5.7 million, up 36% compared to 2019.” 

With this rise in popularity also comes an influx of fans who have joined the community, both being a benefit and a disadvantage to F1 overall. Each person eventually becomes more familiar with the sport itself and the drivers/teams, leaving individuals to find themselves choosing who to support based on personality, skill, and even occasionally looks. One prominent example is the Dutch driver, Max Verstappen, who is known for dominating the grid on behalf of the Oracle Red Bull Racing Team. Being a third time world champion and winning every race comes with a lot of challenges and criticism, especially from fans who support other drivers and teams.

In many interviews that can be found on Youtube, by Dutch channels or F1s channel, Verstappen has stated about how he grew up in an abusive household, constantly being pressured by his father into becoming one of the best drivers, pushing himself to intense limits, and living up to his legacy. Having a father who was a former F1 driver, he would work hard every day to improve his skills in order to make his father proud, earn praise, and bring home wins. Reaching Formula 1 at seventeen years old, Verstappen became one of the youngest to join the sport. Since then he has brought many wins to his team and broken countless records. In this season alone he has broken eighteen records one of them being a 71 year-old record. This happened during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in 2023, where Verstappen had finally beat this record by 2% and continued to increase the percentage until the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the last race of the season.

The three-time world champion, Max Verstappen.

In the past two seasons, Verstappen has won almost every race, repeatedly landing on top. Although his constant success benefitted his team and reputation, it caused many fans of the sport to resort to social media platforms to convey their opinions on his success. Some fans, through TikTok mainly, have posted about how they wish for his downfall, and how they  are awaiting the day that he will experience a crash fatal enough so that their favorite driver can finally get a chance to win. Along with this they have also sent death threats to both him and his family. 

It is understandable that people are tired of seeing the same person 30 seconds ahead and always hearing the Dutch anthem when Verstappen is on the podium on Sunday mornings, but they also need to remember that a historical moment in motorsports is happening. People often forget that these drivers are risking their lives every second that they are on the track just for the entertainment of fans. 

While opinions may differ about Verstappen, his journey in Formula 1 is marked by undeniable skill, passion, and the strength to persevere despite all the hate circulating around him. Although this season is over, the hatred that he has been facing has not stopped him from being one of the best drivers in the history of Formula 1.

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About the Contributor
Ani Gevorkyan
Ani Gevorkyan, Staff Writer
Interests/Hobbies? I like to read, swim, bake, sew, and watch F1 and hockey. Dream Destination? Greece Something I'd tell my 10 year old self: Don’t worry about what others think about you, their opinions don’t matter. Favorite Genre: Mystery/Thriller What piece of text do you like to read the most? Novels

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