We all have moments where we’re so locked in that we forget to blink, but Max Verstappen might take that a little too far. In back-to-back races Oracle Red Bull have released video of Verstappen preparing for the course on a simulator, and we’ve learned the man barely ever blinks.
First he completed a lap of Bahrain in four blinks.
Then he tackled Jeddah, also with just four blinks.
This is categorically, unquestionably, absolutely not human — at least with any understanding of physiology we have. Try to watch either of these videos and consciously hold off blinking. The best I managed was nine blinks, and that was astonishingly painful. I could feel my eyes drying out to the point where I was in physical pain and my vision started to get blurry, and blinking could only set it straight.
Max blinked half as much as I did. Now, while it’s true that intense situations can reduce the mammalian blink response, it’s not like this is in an actual race. Like Allen Iverson said, “we talkin’ about practice.” There was no real reason for Max to hold back his blinks, but he did like this was a normal occurrence.
To prove how weird this is I went and found a study of the blink patterns of primates to compare Max Verstappen to the animal kingdom. This measured each species propensity to blink in blinks per minute (bpm).
- Western gorilla: 29.4 bpm
- Tibetan macaque: 22.6 bpm
- Chimpanzee: 19.4 ppm
- Allen’s swamp monkey: 14.0 bpm
- Human: 9.1 bpm
- White-headed marmoset: 8.1 bpm
- Agile gibbon: 4.1 bpm
- Black-capped squirrel monkey: 3.0 bpm
- Max Verstappen: 2.8 bpm
There are only a handful of primates that blink less than Max Verstappen. Shout out to the Potto, which didn’t blink once in five minutes of observation in the study. Still, we’re (allegedly) talking about a human here, and what Max does with his lack of blinking is unnatural.
He is a robot.