Verstappen: Mercedes responsible for Hamilton glory

  • 23 Dec 2018 14:27
  • comments 23
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Max Verstappen says that an array of other drivers on the F1 grid would have the same success if they were driving for Mercedes. The Silver Arrows has dominated F1 in the turbid hybrid era, winning ten out of ten drivers' and constructors' championships.

Although its route to the championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016 went relatively unchallenged, Mercedes faced a battle against Ferrari over the last two years. On both occasions, Ferrari found its title conquest disappear in the second half of the season.

Hamilton has won four of the last five drivers' titles, with former teammate Nico Rosberg coming out on top in 2016. But Verstappen believes that any of F1's highly regarded drivers could do what Hamilton has done, as it is mostly down to the car.

"I think Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and I could just as easily be champion with such a car. When I see onboard images, I think Mercedes has not even gone full throttle in many races.”

Red Bull has not contended for the championship since 2013, when it dominated proceedings with Vettel. Next season, it enters into a new partnership with Honda, and Verstappen believes that the energy drink outfit will bounce back into the frame in the coming years.

"When I think of my own career, it is not convenient to sit next to Hamilton or Vettel right now. Although I would absolutely do it if I had no other choice. I believe that with Red Bull I can also become champion, as long as we have the right package together.”

Replies (23)

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  • I'm not a Max fan but he's stating the obvious here.

    • + 0
    • Dec 23 2018 - 15:05
    • And the fact that it's obvious makes him look a bit like a pompous prick. I mean, everyone knows you need a good car. But to stated it that way sounds salty, rubbishing the accomplishment. I agree any top driver could have won, but I mean top driver, that's maybe 3 or 4 people.

      • + 2
      • Dec 24 2018 - 02:13
  • mcbhargav

    Posts: 886

    Wow! Im in agreement with Max.

    • + 0
    • Dec 23 2018 - 15:36
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,066

    I agree. It's the Mercedes car that made the difference when they didn't have the advantage they found it hard to win.

    • + 0
    • Dec 23 2018 - 15:57
  • f1dave

    Posts: 588

    So by the same reasoning Red Bull is responsible for his lack of glory ?

    • + 0
    • Dec 23 2018 - 16:32
  • xoya

    Posts: 311

    No shit Sherlock!

    • + 0
    • Dec 23 2018 - 16:33
  • Gee thanks capt'n. Had no idea that was the case until today.

    • + 0
    • Dec 23 2018 - 17:30
  • blade

    Posts: 341

    Max needs to be careful - it's a more comfortable listen when it comes from someone that actually achieved something. Mercedes build a car that work on 80% of all tracks - that's why then win. RB have a design philosophy with high downforce, which brings them in to the game on more twisty circuits and counters their relative lack of horsepower. I would argue other good drivers could have achieved the same results as Max if they had his car on those tracks too. You see, it works both ways - confidence is a good thing but don't let the make you look a twat in front of a global audience.

    • + 0
    • Dec 23 2018 - 18:55
  • He obviously had the best car, but he was able to pull of some amazing quali laps where it looked like he was already on the limit, which arguably made difference in several races. I don't think there are many other drivers who could have done that. Maybe Vettel when he's not getting in his own way. Maybe a future Max when he learns how to ride the razor's edge without pushing the car over its limits. Seems a bit like a sour grapes attitude. A lot of parallels between the two except Hammy already had a title under his belt after the same amount of seasons and was better at learning from his mistakes.

    • + 1
    • Dec 23 2018 - 18:59
  • blade

    Posts: 341

    RAM - I'm on your wavelength here. Let's also remember, the car lewis won his first champ in was NOT the best car on the grid. Max failed to be the youngest pole sitter, that seemingly will rest with VET for some time now and beat his teammate in 2018 through what any (even) disinterested observer would agree was an uneven dishing out of car failures in his favour. My point is that it's all 'tomorrow' with MAX, he hasn't yet earned the right to diss HAM or VET.

    • + 1
    • Dec 23 2018 - 19:08
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,066

    As far as I am concerned Verstappen or anyone can say what they want. With any racer it's about the last result that they had "your only as good as your last race". This perception that only the WC winners can comment is wrong since becoming an WC is more about being at the right place at the right time like Button in the Brawn. Hamilton has been fortunate enough to be in that position and that's what is being stated. Max has been great this year and he has beaten his teammate by a big margin.

    • + 1
    • Dec 23 2018 - 19:55
  • blade

    Posts: 341

    He's beaten his teammate by a fair margin - have a look at the results Boudy - deduct car failures and maybe it's a bit closer??

    • + 1
    • Dec 23 2018 - 21:59
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,066

      @BLADE Stats show the following:

      - Verstappen out qualified Ricciardo
      - On sundays he was mostly the leading Redbull,
      - Ricciardo did not just switch to Renault on a performance basis


      I like Ricciardo and I hoped he stated another year with Redbull but decided to join Renault and that somehow feels that let himself down.

      • + 0
      • Dec 23 2018 - 23:44
    • dr002

      Posts: 125

      @BOUDY, in Ricciardo’s case it’s fair to look beyond the stats. Verstappen had the team on his side, and even then Verstappen didn’t beat Ricciaodo by a huge margin, particularly given Ricciardo didn’t finish 8 races to Verstappen’s 4, and in Verstappen’s case his non-finishes were in the main his fault.

      As for qualifying, don’t forget that Ricciardo earned two poles to Verstappen’s zero. I also think the strategy, setup and power levels given to Ricciardo in qualifying favoured Verstappen.

      There is no doubt that in Mexico Ricciardo under drove the car in the lead up to Q3 to ensure his car was given maximum power so that in his final lap he could deny Verstappen the ‘Youngest Ever Pole Position’ record, which not only surprised Verstappen, but shocked the team also. Horner’s body language and Verstappen’s comments after it happened, that he ”needed to speak with the team”, showed that pole was supposed to go to Verstappen.

      And he didn't let himself down moving to Renault. It was clear from the Azerbaijan race that Verstappen was the favoured driver and that Ricciardo had to leave the team if he didn’t want to play second fiddle to Verstappen.

      He is now the number one driver in a team, he is now out of the clutches of Red Bull and he has given himself the best chance strategically of outperforming Verstappen, which he will need to do if he wants to move to Ferrari or Mercedes in the future.

      • + 0
      • Dec 24 2018 - 23:23
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,066

      Thanks for your comments but I just can't see that Redbull were favouring Verstappen. They were given both equal materials and Ricciardo was able to beat Verstappen on occasion. There is an natural gravitation towards the best drivers maybe that's what Ricciardo was experiencing.

      I would be really surprised if redbull asked renault to turn down the engine in favour of another driver. That would simply not happen since it would be too hard to make that work. It would also be hard to keep quiet.

      Verstappen beat Ricciardo fair and square and not artificially as you are suggesting.

      Verstappen out performed Ricciardo in qualifying and as such would have always been given the prime strategy which comes with that performance. Given that Verstappens tyre management is one of the best he will have an advantage in that area as well.

      Ricciardo is a very good driver and a great team mate and I wish him all the luck in Renault however both Mercedes and Ferrari had the change to sign him and the both neglected to do so.

      Ricciardo had the opportunity to lead the Redbull team but was not able to do so because of the quality of his team mate.

      This is the main reason why he needed to change;if he stayed another season he would have fallen even more behind which would not help him getting a drive in a top team.

      • + 0
      • Dec 25 2018 - 00:12
    • dr002

      Posts: 125

      To my mind, Azerbaijan was the race that proved Verstappen was Red Bull's favoured driver. Even when substantially down on points at that point of the Championship, Red Bull placed Verstappen ahead of Ricciardo.

      Go back one race before in China and Red Bull had been on fire with their analysis of pit stops, double banking their cars to gain advantage. Their strategy was flawless, in fact Ricciardo should have genuflected to his team as it was his team that had ‘won’ him the race.

      In Azerbaijan Ricciardo was again out driving Verstappen and on one occasion Verstappen deliberately drove into the side of Ricciardo to prevent him getting past, but with no comments from the team, and with no orders to let Ricciardo by despite Ricciardo's car being the faster on track.

      When Ricciardo finally got past, the team’s decision was then to pit Ricciardo first, no doubt knowing that the overcut would have favoured Verstappen thereby putting their favoured driver back in front of Ricciardo.

      All of the other teams knew that the track favoured the overcut. A team simply does not go from being the leading team – strategy wise – in one race, to being unable to identify an undercut track from an overcut track in the next race.

      In terms of Verstappen steering into Ricciardo and then his double movement on Ricciardo that caused the accident that took them both out, imagine the ramifications for Ricciardo had he pulled those moves on Verstappen!

      Given Ricciardo’s mood / attitude after the race, if he’d not already made the decision, I suspect that it was what went on at Azerbaijan that cemented Ricciardo's decision to leave Redbull. He was never going to win a Championship with Red Bull whilst ever Verstappen was in the team.

      • + 1
      • Dec 26 2018 - 00:14
    • dr002

      Posts: 125

      @BOUDY, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that Red Bull asked Renault to turn down the engine, I’m suggesting that Red Bull itself did not provide maximum power to Ricciardo’s engine when they most likely did to Verstappen.

      And I am suggesting that once it was clear that they had 3rd place in the Constructor’s Championship locked down and there was no chance of 2nd place, that Red Bull did make strategy decisions to ensure that Verstappen was ahead of Ricciardo in the Drivers Championship.

      • + 0
      • Dec 26 2018 - 00:39
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,066

      As far as I know its not Redbull who have that capability; there is an group of tech guys that are in service of Renault that looks after the team engines. Either way you are suggesting that Redbull somehow sabotaged one of their own drivers. No way that would happen in a team like Redbull that wasn't fighting for the WC but still wanted race wins.

      Redbull wanted race wins and I don't think that they actually had an preference on either driver. I wouldn't make sense to put a driver at an disadvantage.

      The most likely scenario is that Verstappen was just quicker than Ricciardo and Ricciardo couldn't handle that situation hence he left. Believing an conspiracy over a simpler scenario doesn't strike me as productive solution.

      • + 0
      • Dec 26 2018 - 01:40
    • dr002

      Posts: 125

      All I am suggesting is that once a team’s position in the Constructors Championship has been solidified, all of the top teams will want their number one driver to be ahead of their number two driver in the Drivers Championship.

      Of course a team will always go for first place, but in Red Bulls case there were very limited opportunities for that to happen.

      In circumstances where a race win was not possible given the strength of other teams, I do believe that Verstappen was the favoured driver. It would otherwise be a statistical anomaly that such a large proportion of Ricciardo’s mechanical failures happened after he announced his future departure from the team.

      Teams are always adjusting the power settings of their cars either when in close battles with competing teams or to protect engines over the longer term, so I do believe that it is naive to suggest that a team would not or could not make similar decisions to favour the position of a particular driver within their own team.

      • + 0
      • Dec 26 2018 - 02:31
  • jaybee

    Posts: 16

    To those who think it's all about the car, proven top drivers drive the top cars because they are proven top drivers. Manufacturers love to have them. Fangio changed marques all the time and he could because he was Fangio. Nobody ever said "Oh! He's only 5-time WC because he's got the best car." Same for Schumi.

    • + 0
    • Dec 24 2018 - 17:18
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,066

    Those times were different people got seriously hurt. Fangio was an one off. I agree with your point though. The best drivers gravitate towards the best teams. Hence I would like to see Hamilton sign for Ferrari only there he can proof the ultimate and become wc with them.

    • + 0
    • Dec 24 2018 - 19:23
  • k.gandhiin

    Posts: 17

    Ocon too could have done that, Max should not state something which is obvious. He has also won races just coz of circumstances and good RB car.

    • + 0
    • Dec 26 2018 - 07:18
  • Duh.
    The interesting one is, if all had been driving an RB14, who'd have come out on top?

    • + 0
    • Dec 26 2018 - 20:43

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