Max Verstappen would give Lewis Hamilton a real run for his money and potentially best the Brit if he was driving a Mercedes. That’s the opinion of former F1 driver Robert Doornbos, who says the Dutchman is putting on a “one man show” at Red Bull due to his superiority over Alex Albon.
Verstappen secured his fifth podium finish on the spin at Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix to solidify second place in the drivers’ standings.
He was, though, left trailing in Hamilton’s wake as the six-time champion secured the fifth victory of his career at the Circuit de Catalunya by 24 seconds.
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Doornbos, who enjoyed a short stint with Red Bull back in 2006, is nevertheless impressed by Verstappen’s performances so far this season.
And he thinks the gulf between his compatriot and Albon is only going to make things tougher for the Thai-Brit driver.
“Max’s performance is very good, because the Red Bull is a difficult car to drive and balance on the limit,” wrote Doornbos, for the Dutch edition of Top Gear. “They call it the Knife Edge.
“Verstappen currently has nothing to do with Albon. He has no strategic backing and at this pace Albon cannot help with the development of the car.
“He is seven tenths short during qualifying. Then you can shout what you want about the car, but the engineers won’t take you seriously.
“Hamilton has a much better second man in [Valtteri] Bottas. Max Verstappen is simply extremely good, which makes it a difficult period for Albon’s career. Right now Red Bull is just a one man show.”
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Debate rages over how Verstappen would fare if he was to replace Valtteri Bottas and slot in next to Hamilton at Mercedes.
Doornbos reckons the 22-year-old would thrive and possibly even get the better of the current leader of the drivers’ standings.
“The eternal question remains: what would Max do in the same car?” said Doornbos. “I think he would make it very difficult for Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen would be just as dominant, and maybe even better.
“That question will not be answered for the time being. Maybe when the new cars and new rules come in 2022, but Mercedes also has a lot of chances there. The German team now has the fastest car and can already fully focus on the new car for 2022, while other teams are still busy investing in 2020 and 2021.”
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