Max Verstappen might have to wait another year for F1 glory. That’s according to former Red Bull driver David Coulthard, who admits Mercedes look a cut above the competition after the first three Grands Prix of 2020.
Verstappen’s campaign got off to the worst start imaginable in Spielberg earlier this month as his RB16 failed him in the opening laps of the Austrian Grand Prix and he was forced to retire.
The 22-year-old bounced back to finish second at the same track the following week and had his mechanics to thank as he finished third in Hungary having crashed his Red Bull on the way to the grid.
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Verstappen sits third in the F1 driver’s standings but form of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, coupled with the quality of the Mercedes W11, is threatening to leave him in the dust.
Coulthard, who spent five seasons on Red Bull’s books, believes Verstappen will manage to get Grand Prix wins under his belt this year.
However, he has his doubts over whether a title tilt is on the cards as the Dutchman seeks to become F1’s youngest ever champion.
“I’m not worried about that, because Max is an exceptional driver and Red Bull is a team that can build winning cars,” Coulthard told Dutch outlet Formule 1.
“I just don’t know if that’s enough to be a champion this year. After the winter tests, I didn’t expect [the gap to Mercedes] to be that big.
“It seems that Mercedes has built another winning car, for which they deserve all credit. There is still a long way to go this year.”
Verstappen and Red Bull will go racing again on Sunday as the British Grand Prix forms the first half of a Silverstone double-header.
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Verstappen can’t wait to get back on track at the Northamptonshire circuit, where’s his mischievously joked rain might be on the cards.
“I’m looking forward to the next triple-header [in the UK and Spain] and Silverstone is a really nice track to drive,” Verstappen said.
“The corners at Silverstone are insanely fast and Copse is flat out! Maggots is also flat out in seventh gear which is already crazy, especially in qualifying as you don’t even tap the brake anymore, you just downshift.
“At Silverstone you have to get the right wing level, and of course for the lower speed corners you prefer more downforce and grip.
“Obviously it can rain at Silverstone, even though it is summer in the UK but I like those conditions and maybe we wouldn’t mind the rain as it could mix things up.”
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