The thrill of the Imola asphalt is not enough for Max Verstappen. The three-time Formula 1 world champion is not only doing his job at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix this weekend, but also wants to take part in a virtual 24-hour race at the Nürburgring.

Verstappen alternates with other sim racers in his team; he wants to take between two and four hours for Saturday night and Sunday morning. “Of course you have to go to bed on time to get enough sleep and start Sunday well-rested,” said Verstappen, defending his virtual motorsport hobby: “This is my free time and I am professional enough to decide for myself “What’s okay and what’s not.”

Verstappen: “I’m in a competition with myself”

In any case, Verstappen is not bored. Even if his series of successes in Formula 1 sometimes seems effortless. “From the outside it seems that there is no challenge,” said the Dutchman. “But I have to give everything every single weekend to get everything out of it. For me it’s never boring because I don’t need another team or another driver to challenge me, I’m in a constant competition with myself.”

Before the seventh race of the year, Verstappen leads the championship standings with a 33-point lead over his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. Verstappen has already won four of six Grand Prix this season.