AP auto racing writer Jenna Fryer used her vast experience and contacts in the motorsports community to land an exclusive interview with Dutch driver Max Verstappen — currently leading the world championship standings — in advance of last weekend’s Formula One race in Austin, Texas.

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At left, Max Verstappen drives his Red Bull on the way to winning the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, Oct. 24, 2021. At right, Verstappen fans storm the track after his win.

AP Photo / Eric Gay

Verstappen’s comments to Fryer went viral when he explained why he chose not to participate this season in “Drive to Survive,” the Netflix docuseries that is credited with expanding U.S. interest in F1. Verstappen said that when he appeared in earlier seasons of the show his quotes were taken out of context and “they would fake a lot of stuff. ... They faked a few rivalries which they don’t really exist.”

The comments caused a sensation online, and when asked about his answers at a news conference days before the race, Versatappen said: “I would recommend you read the article. I explained myself there, in the article.” All AP competitors had to cite and link to Fryer’s story.