As Max Verstappen celebrated a convincing victory at the Belgian Grand Prix over the previous weekend, he humorously suggested to his Red Bull team that he had such an advantage over his competitors that he could afford an additional pit stop simply to provide his mechanics with extra practice.
Red Bull’s Christian Horner later clarified that this proposition was rejected due to the potential risk of complications during the stop, which could lead to an embarrassing situation for the team.
Verstappen’s casual remark about an extra stop led some to infer an overconfident demeanor, given that he has triumphed in nine out of the twelve races this season.
However, his adversary, Mercedes, did not perceive Verstappen’s demeanor as particularly audacious.
Wolff commented: “He’s fully entitled to a bit of audacity. His skill at effortlessly outperforming everyone else is the sole reason and nothing more can be added. As much as it might irritate, one can’t help but observe.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
Despite competitors’ best efforts to bridge the gap to Red Bull, Wolff views the struggle more personally. He believes the remaining competitors are on par with Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, but it’s Verstappen who stands a class apart.
“You need to eliminate Max from the equation,” he added. “The performance of the second Red Bull car matches ours.
Without Verstappen, there would have been a riveting season with close contests, but the chronometer never deceives. There’s only one individual and one car outperforming all, and we need to catch up. There’s no other option.”
Even though the margins between Verstappen and the rest of the field have widened compared to the previous year at Spa, Wolff firmly believes this doesn’t accurately represent the current competitive scenario in F1.
He insists Mercedes has made significant strides with its vehicle and is now in a better position than it was a year ago.
Wolff remarked, “Comparatively, last year’s Spa race was dreadful. This time, prior to the final stop, Perez, Leclerc, and ourselves were trailing by only six or eight seconds. Therefore, this constitutes a significant improvement for us, considering Spa was, as previously mentioned, a catastrophe in 2022.
We believe we have made that leap, but then there’s that top guy who has taken another leap forward. We need to reverse this situation.”
Abiteboul: Alpine F1’s 100-race strategy defective amidst Szafnauer’s departure
Why Aston and McLaren are trialing F1 Pirelli tires that may never hit the track
McLaren striving to finalize the last F1 ‘conceptual evolution’ upgrade for 2023 vehicle
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Max Verstappen’s F1 dominance
What did Verstappen suggest to his Red Bull team after his victory in the Belgian Grand Prix?
Verstappen jokingly suggested that he could afford an additional pit stop just to give his mechanics some extra practice, given his considerable lead over his competitors.
How did Red Bull boss Christian Horner respond to Verstappen’s suggestion of an extra pit stop?
Christian Horner explained that Verstappen’s proposition was rejected due to the potential risk of something going wrong during the stop, which could lead to embarrassment for the team.
How did Mercedes perceive Verstappen’s remark about making an extra pit stop?
Mercedes, being a rival, did not perceive Verstappen’s demeanor as overly audacious. Mercedes’ Wolff even stated that Verstappen was fully entitled to a bit of audacity given his superior performance on the track.
According to Wolff, how does the rest of the field compare to Verstappen and his teammate, Sergio Perez?
Wolff believes that the rest of the field is on par with Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez. It is Verstappen, he suggests, who is a step above everyone else.
What does Wolff say about Mercedes’ progress with its car?
Wolff asserts that Mercedes has made significant strides with its vehicle and is now in a better position than it was a year ago, particularly in comparison to their performance at last year’s Spa race.