‘He’s not God’ – Verstappen bullish about beating Hamilton to Formula One title

‘He’s not God’ – Verstappen bullish about beating Hamilton to Formula One title

Max Verstappen insists he can beat Lewis Hamilton to the Formula One title, saying Britain’s six-time world champion is “not God”.

The 22-year-old Dutchman could prove Hamilton’s closest challenger this year, following Red Bull’s strong finish to the end of last season and few changes to the sport’s technical rulebook.

Hamilton, 35, has dominated F1 in recent times, winning five of the last six championships, and will this year equal Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven if he secures another triumph.

But asked if he can beat Hamilton over the stretch of a season, Verstappen said: “Yes. Of course, it is very car-dependent in Formula One. Lewis is very good. He is definitely one of the best out there. He is not God, maybe God is with him, but he is not God.

Max Verstappen, left, reckons Lewis Hamilton, right, is beatable (David Davies/PA)
Max Verstappen, left, reckons Lewis Hamilton, right, is beatable (David Davies/PA)

“When you can put the pressure on it is a lot harder for the guy in the lead. If he never really has pressure, he can drive at 97 or 98 per cent and then you never make mistakes.

“If we start the season within two tenths (of Mercedes), we can mount the pressure. I am looking forward to when we get that fight and if we are really close I am pretty sure we can do better.”

Verstappen resisted the lure of a move to either Mercedes or Ferrari by committing his long-term future to Red Bull with a four-year contract extension.

Hamilton’s next move is uncertain with his £40million-a-season Mercedes set to expire at the end of the year.

“It is a good thing my future is sorted because it takes away any doubt,” added Verstappen, who won three times last year and finished third in the championship behind Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

“There are no question marks any more. When you go into a season and your contract is up at the end of the year, at one point it is going to be a bit awkward. I didn’t want to have any of that.

“This is the right place. I see the motivation and hunger to fight for victories and a championship. Looking at this year we want to mount a challenge to Mercedes and I think we can do that.”

Christian Horner has backed the authorities to make the right call about the Chinese Grand Prix (David Davies/PA)
Christian Horner has backed the authorities to make the right call about the Chinese Grand Prix (David Davies/PA)

Verstappen’s Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, meanwhile, has backed the sport to make the right call over whether to cancel the Chinese Grand Prix.

The race is due to take place on April 19 but it is in doubt following the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 350 lives.

Horner said: “The FIA is F1’s regulator, Liberty Media is a promoter. They are responsible for the health and well-being, not just of the drivers, but all the staff and the travelling members of the sport.

“I am sure they will take the necessary due diligence before making any commitment about either delaying, postponing or cancelling the race. We have to trust their judgement and knowledge.”

More on this topic

Lewis Hamilton: Max Verstappen’s comments are a sign of weaknessLewis Hamilton: Max Verstappen’s comments are a sign of weakness

Chinese Grand Prix postponed due to coronavirus, FIA confirmsChinese Grand Prix postponed due to coronavirus, FIA confirms

Significant chance Chinese GP will be postponed due to coronavirus – F1 chiefSignificant chance Chinese GP will be postponed due to coronavirus – F1 chief

F1 considering date change for under-threat Chinese GPF1 considering date change for under-threat Chinese GP

More in this Section

BBC severs ties with pundit after ‘black lads’ commentsBBC severs ties with pundit after ‘black lads’ comments

Football rumours: Real Madrid keen on Raheem SterlingFootball rumours: Real Madrid keen on Raheem Sterling

Harry Gregg: The reluctant hero of the Munich air disasterHarry Gregg: The reluctant hero of the Munich air disaster

Disappointing 73 sees McIlroy’s challenge peter out as Adam Scott claims Genesis Invitational victory Disappointing 73 sees McIlroy’s challenge peter out as Adam Scott claims Genesis Invitational victory


Lifestyle

When Marisa Murphy went to play as a teenager on Dinish Island, she could still see the flowers growing among the ruins in her grandmother’Islands of Ireland: Barely inhabitated Dinish became an industrial zone

MAC make-up artist Lucy Bridge shares her tips backstage at Roland Mouret.How to create the perfect matte red lip, according to a backstage beauty expert

New trends include chunky heeled boots, silver belts and lots of plaid from the British designer.Victoria Beckham got ‘rebellious’ for her new collection – as David and family watched on

When horses were shown photographs of angry human faces, their hearts speeded up.Jackass penguin talk is similar to humans

More From The Irish Examiner