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Max Verstappen’s ex-trainer reveals the ‘little mind games’ used to beat Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen has won three drivers titles since 2021  (Getty Images)
Max Verstappen has won three drivers titles since 2021 (Getty Images)

Max Verstappen’s former performance coach Brad Scanes spent four years working with the Red Bull driver, and explained how the defending world champion trains for the races.

Scanes worked with Verstappen over four seasons, starting in 2019, but left the role at the end of 2023.

Verstappen won his first of three drivers titles in controversial fashion in 2021, a disputed decision from the race director allowed the Dutch driver to pass Lewis Hamilton on the final lap, bringing him his first title.

Scanes told Sky Sports how “mind games” became a part of the battle between the British driver and Verstappen.

"As someone in sport, working in sport, I consider myself extremely lucky to be a part of that season," Scanes said.

"We just witnessed two of the best go at it head-to-head, neck and neck, and you don’t often get that opportunity.

"It’s the little things they’ll try and do to get one over each other. In the cool down room after a race, who could be the longest to get ready and take the most time. And it’s those little mind games that those two were playing with each other.”

Max Verstappen remains on course to defend his title in 2024 (Getty Images)
Max Verstappen remains on course to defend his title in 2024 (Getty Images)

Scanes worked closely with Max Verstappen, his father Jos and business manager Raymond Vermeulen, and credits the close-knit nature of his team to the race driver’s success.

"They’re a very open and honest group as well, and that suited the way that I like to work as well. So if someone’s not happy about something, nothing ever goes unsaid,” he explained.

"So clarity of vision, communication, and open, and honesty. And for me, it was beautiful because I really was part of the family.

"On a race weekend, it would be Max, his dad, his manager, me, race engineer, performance engineer, we would go out for dinner and it would be that sort of close-knit group. So it really works and I think it’s been a big part of the success that we’ve had and he’ll continue to have."