'Exceptional driver' Verstappen feels he makes difference despite Red Bull team help

By Sports Desk September 04, 2022

Max Verstappen has paid credit to his Red Bull team while suggesting his victories should also be attributed to him being an "exceptional driver" after Lewis Hamilton's recent comments.

The Red Bull man claimed another home triumph at the Dutch Grand Prix to move closer to a second successive world drivers' championship after last year's victory over the Briton.

The Dutchman has been the dominant driver in F1 this season with a superb car, and Mercedes racer Hamilton previously paid tribute to the technical staff, led by Adrian Newey, at the rival team.

The latter's praise notably omitted credit for Verstappen, who edged him for the title in controversial circumstances last year, and whose partner's father, former driver Nelson Piquet, was involved in a racism storm over the seven-time world champion earlier this year.

Asked on Hamilton's comments after victory at Circuit Zandvoort, Verstappen acknowledged the efforts of his team to aid his quest, but also reinforced that he plays just as much of a crucial part in his own success.

"A lot of that is down to the team, of course, as it's also how Lewis won his championships," he stated. "That's how it goes in Formula 1.

"Your car is super important, but I think when you're an exceptional driver like Lewis is as well, you make a difference over your team-mate at the time, in very crucial races as well.

"You end up winning a race like that and that is, at the end of the day, what good drivers do. They do make the difference compared to other fast drivers.

"The car is very dominant in Formula 1 but of course between team-mates, only one can win, and that's where you have to make the difference."

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    Gernot Dollner, who has taken over Hoffmann's former position, said of Binotto: "With his extensive experience of more than 25 years in F1, he will undoubtedly be able to make a decisive contribution for Audi.

    "Our aim is to bring the entire F1 project up to F1 speed by means of clear management structures, defined responsibilities, reduced interfaces, and efficient decision-making processes.

    "For this purpose, the team must be able to act independently and quickly."

    Binotto had been part of Ferrari's team since 1995, contributing to eight constructors' championship triumphs before becoming team principal in 2019.

  • 'Childish remark not aimed at Verstappen', says Red Bull boss Horner 'Childish remark not aimed at Verstappen', says Red Bull boss Horner

    Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes Gianpiero Lambiase's "childish" remark was not aimed at Max Verstappen during the pair's unhappy radio exchange at Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

    Drivers' Championship leader Verstappen was forced to settle for fifth at the Hungaroring - his second-lowest finish of the season - Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris comprising a McLaren one-two.

    The three-time world champion was involved in a collision with Lewis Hamilton on lap 63, after overshooting a corner on an attempted overtake.

    It led Verstappen to vent his frustrations towards race engineer Lambiase, telling him over the team radio: "You gave me this s*** strategy. I'm trying to rescue what's left."

    The Italian responded: "I am not even going to get into a radio fight with the other teams, Max. We'll let the stewards do their thing. It’s childish on the radio, childish."

    It was a surprising exchange given the close-knit relationship shared between the pair, who have worked together for eight years.

    However, Horner said Lambiase's comments were instead aimed at the radio traffic from rival teams hoping the stewards would penalise them.

    "I don't think GP's [Lambiase] reference at that point was in reference to Max," he told reporters. "Others [were] obviously goading for penalties because obviously the stewards are listening to the radio as well.

    "Max was frustrated, which you can understand. He has a very direct line of communication with his engineer. It's something that they’ll discuss between the two of them.

    "They've been together for eight years and, yes, there are things we could have done better in the race today that we'll talk about as a team.

    "I think everybody sees we need to find more performance, and everybody is working hard to do that and we'll have whatever discussions behind closed doors."

    Verstappen, who still holds a 76-point lead over Norris at the Drivers' Championship summit, will head to next weekend's Belgian Grand Prix having not won any of his last three races; last going four without success during the 2020 season.

    However, the Dutchman has won each of the last three races in Belgium, and could become only the third driver after Ayrton Senna and Jim Clark to win four in a row.

  • Hamilton labels Verstappen collision as a "racing incident" as pair avoid punishment Hamilton labels Verstappen collision as a "racing incident" as pair avoid punishment

    Lewis Hamilton labelled his clash with Max Verstappen at the Hungarian Grand Prix as a "racing incident" after finishing third on Sunday. 

    Hamilton and Verstappen made contact coming into turn one at the Hungaroring with seven laps of the race remaining. 

    The Dutchman attempted to go on the inside of his former rival to secure the final podium place, but in doing so locked up his front tyres. 

    Verstappen and Hamilton made contact, with the three-time world champion briefly sent into the air and off the track as he was overtaken by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. 

    The stewards swiftly placed the incident under investigation and conducted their analysis of it after the race, with the pair both escaping punishment for the collision. 

    "For me it was a racing incident," Hamilton told Sky Sports. 

    "Ultimately he was much quicker and he sent it. I moved a little to defend, but I left enough space on the inside and he locked up and obviously then couldn't turn.

    "He came at a different trajectory and clipped my wheels. If he was under control he would have gone by."

    “It’s nerve-wracking when you see the pace at which they close the gap on corners," Hamilton added of Red Bull's pace.

    "You just laugh to yourself because it’s not something I can do, particularly on the last sector they were very very strong, same as the McLarens.

    “I saw him coming from a long way back and he was able to brake a lot later than me, but he sent it up the inside, I stayed still and he clipped the wheel and went over, so I think it was a racing incident."

    Hamilton's third-place finish saw him claim a 200th podium, the first driver in the history of the competition to reach that milestone. 

    The seven-time world champion, who claimed 49 of those podium finishes with McLaren, was pleased to see his former team produce their first one-two since the Italian Grand Prix in 2021. 

    “Big thanks to this amazing crowd and a huge congratulations to the McLarens with the one-two, that’s my old original family so it’s great to see," Hamilton said. 

    “For us, the team have done a great job at pushing this car ultimately, we didn’t have the pace of the McLarens or of the Red Bulls but we were just able to hold on at the beginning of the race, it was very tough to hold on and make those tyres last."

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