We caught up with the Danish rookie to find out more about what his life is like beyond the track, how he was once left red-faced in front of his future rivals and why the Mercedes junior is thankful he’s not cleaning up after a familiar face from the grid.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
“I grew up in a small town called Filskov, which I think has 1500 people. I went to school there with my friends and I grew up there. I went to the gym there when I was very small, I remember we played football as well and did lots of sports. My dad’s company is there, so every day after school I would go to his company to do motocross, work on my go karts or help him.
“Well, it was perfect for me. I've always lived in the countryside and in small villages, so having the opportunity to be on the field driving motocross or a go-kart was just a dream and I've never really wanted to live in the middle of a city. Still now to this day, I really enjoy living a bit on the side now in Oxford, it’s a bit more in the city, but yeah, it's still good.
OUTSIDE OF MOTORSPORT, WHICH SPORTSPERSON DO YOU ADMIRE?
“I like to do sports, but I don’t actually watch that much. When I was younger, I was a big fan of Lionel Messi but I’m not anymore. I don't really watch football, but I guess he's a great, great player and he’s done incredible things.”
WHAT IS TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST?
“Become a World Champion in Formula 1. If it's outside racing, probably, build my own racetrack at home and motocross track and to have the opportunity to do something with racing every day, that would be cool.”
WHO ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH ON THE GRID?
“You know we’re all enemies, we’re all racing! No there are of course friends, I think Olli Caldwell. I live with Olli in the flat in Oxford and he's a great friend. We share a lot of great moments both at the racetrack, but especially at home where we play video games and chess. I’m a tidy person, I like it when there’s not a big mess and Olli is quite the same, which is helpful because if I lived with someone who was not doing a good job with his cleaning I would probably struggle and work a lot harder to keep the kitchen clean.
“Théo Pourchaire is a good friend, he’s my teammate and we spend a lot of time together. Also, Felipe Drugovich, who I’ve known since go-karts. He was one of the first guys I met in go-karting back in 2015, so a long time ago."
HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM THE TRACK?
“I actually took the decision before summer break to stay away from my phone. I still did a few Instagram posts, but I really tried to not spend time on my phone, so I stayed in Italy in the mountains, went for a run, bike rides, stuff like that. Very chilled and away from people and again, out of the cities and in the mountains is great.
“In the triple header, you sort of need to manage the energy yourself a bit 'cause if you just go on and on and on for three weeks, you'll burn out pretty quickly, at least me! I need to take a bit of rest and try to find some fun stuff to do in between each race.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHEAT MEAL?
“Probably pizza, pizza is good. People hate me for this, but I like pizza with pineapple and ham. I don’t know why but I love it, I’ve loved it since I was a kid and I still love it.”
IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO ANY MOMENT IN HISTORY, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
“I would definitely race in Formula 1 in the 1990s, I just look at those cars and think ‘wow, that’s incredible what the drivers were able to do and the cars that they were racing just looked incredible. Since there was no Mercedes then I’d probably race for McLaren.”
IF YOU WEREN’T A DRIVER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
“Two things – a lot of sport because I love sport and I love being active. I always feel a lot better after a training session. Being in nature as well, training, going for bike rides, all those kinds of things I would definitely maintain.
“But if I wasn’t driving, I would probably be very motivated to start my own business or help my dad, at least in the beginning and then try to continue that business or start my own because I’m very interested in business. Also, with my sponsors now in Formula 2, I have a great privilege to be close to people who are very successful, to speak with them and learn from their life and the decisions they’ve taken to create the companies that they have. That’s something I really spend a lot of time doing."
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE OR TV SERIES?
“I've actually just found a new series which is called Young Sheldon on Netflix. It's great and normally, I don't watch that kind of stuff and I'm from Denmark and we don't have that on Danish Netflix, but now I live in the UK so I can finally watch it and it's actually really funny.
“My favourite movie is American Sniper. I know a guy who is a former Navy SEAL for the Danish military, and I spend a lot of time with him, both training but also shooting on the shooting range. Sometimes he comes to watch my races, so I have a great connection there and I just like that movie.”
WHAT WAS THE LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO?
“I don’t know, I can go check! I was in the car yesterday listening to many different songs, but I’m not a guy who likes one specific genre, I like anything. If it has a good beat and it sounds good, I’m happy, I don’t really think too much about it.”
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM BIRTHDAY CAKE?
“Cheesecake. Any cheesecake, just very simple and original, then I'm happy.”
YOUR FAVOURITE RACING MEMORY?
“Going back to 2015 again, my first year of karting in Italy. I had this whole year of failure and almost stopped go-karting at that point. We spent a lot of money and got nowhere. At the final race, my dad asked me if I wanted to stop or at, or at least try another team for one last try.
“I ended up winning the World Series karting that weekend, which had been my dream since I was eight years old. It’s one of the reasons why I'm still racing. I have won races in F3, in F4 and F2, but that memory is still something different.”
MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
“Probably my helmets, so not one thing, but my racing helmets from the last so many years are something I love looking at when I’m home. Actually, I’m thinking about bringing back my first-ever helmet that I got painted because I really like it. There are a few things I would like to change but bringing back what I had back then for a one-off race or something like that, I would like to try that.”
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE QUOTE?
“There’s the Ayrton Senna one – if you don’t go for the gap, you’re no longer a racing driver. I think that one sticks with any racing driver, if you stop believing and stop trying to make things happen then it’s time to stop. I think that’s something everyone should probably live by.”
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU VISIT?
“I would like to go to Australia and New Zealand. It seems very far from the world I know, and I quite like that. I would like to experience what it is like there.”
YOUR MOST EMBARASSING MOMENT?
“I still think about this to this day. In 2015 during my first year of go-karting internationally, I was driving in the World Championship in La Conca with probably everyone on this grid – Vips, Drugovich, Hauger – everyone was there.
“I remember clearly, I was warming up my tyres when I was getting out of the pit lane, and I spun. This was just terrible cause it was my first year and to spin like that is just really bad. It was an awful race, so that was very, very embarrassing."