Yesterday, F1 took an exciting turn again when none of the two favourites to win did, but the championship-leading spot still changed hands, partly thanks to an unfortunate turn of events for Mercedes.
Despite going 6 points clear at the top, Verstappen hasn’t written off current biggest rival Hamilton yet, as he feels six points aren’t significant, and that his side, Red Bull, don’t have enough pace.
Verstappen thinks that things will toughen as the season proceeds, but this is a fight and they can only hope. “It is going to be tough, but I can’t complain about the season,” he stated, adding that Mercedes have gotten faster recently and he hopes the future will favour Red Bull. “…they’ve picked up the pace a bit. Hopefully, some tracks will be a bit better for us,” he said.
For most of the season, the 2020 champion has been bested by Verstappen, but his (Hamilton’s) side has had an increase in pace lately, notably in Russia and Turkey. So, despite being at the top, Max knows that Hamilton is capable of a comeback to take back those six points.
Hamilton was frustrated after Sunday’s fifth place, feeling that though uncertain, taking the risk to hold on would have been better than giving up without knowledge of what would happen later. “…you don’t know if I would have held position….I will just have to work hard not to drop any more points,” Hamilton partly said.
Fully knowing that his rival would have performed better and the lead would be narrower if things went according to Mercedes’ plan, Verstappen cannot get comfortable at the top and is wary of what Hamilton is capable of.
Furthermore, Mercedes believes they still have a chance and will undoubtedly race to the finish line.”But it is wide open. We should be okay..,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said.
Clearly, Verstappen’s wariness is not unfounded, as he is fighting it out with a driver and team that knows what winning and holding on is. So, this fight might probably last until the final race(s).