Max Verstappen believes that most drivers on the grid would be capable of being world champions had they the car that Lewis Hamilton had last season – the Mercedes W09 – which took the Briton to his fifth world championship triumph and made it ten titles in five years for the three-pointed star.
In an interview with AD.nl, the Red Bull driver was asked if he would have been world champion in Hamilton’s car, he replied, “Yes. Yes, absolutely… Most drivers would have become world champions in that car.”
With ‘that’ car Hamilton won 11 grands prix, staring 11 times from pole position as he wrapped up the title with three races still to go in the championship. His teammate Valtteri Bottas failed to win a race.
Verstappen seized the opportunity to take another swipe at Bottas when he added, “Especially if you have a teammate next to you who is not so fast. If your teammate is far behind you so often, it is very easy to collect the points.”
“I had Daniel Ricciardo much closer to me, then you really have to fight for your points. There at Mercedes, it was a completely different story.”
“Hamilton fought against Ferrari and had to always stay sharp. But sometimes I think: the less threat your teammate is, the more relaxed you can drive. And then you also know that the team is fully geared towards you. That only makes you faster,” explained the Dutchman.
While Hamilton has the upper hand at Mercedes, Verstappen also managed to get the edge over teammate Daniel Ricciardo within the Red Bullpen. The younger driver becoming the favoured son at the expense of the former favoured son (Dan) who ousted the favoured son (Seb) before that.
Ricciardo realised the writing was on the wall and decided to jump ship to Renault after striking a two-year big-buck deal with the team and walk away from the team that
Asked if he would miss the big smiling Australian, Verstappen said, “It was fun and pleasant to have him as a teammate. I think it is not often that you have such a good relationship with someone. Maybe it will never happen again.”
“But will I miss him? I think Daniel is going to miss what he had here…” predicted the 21-year-old.