Formula 1 is getting ready for a battle of titans between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in 2020. The Dutchman became incredibly fast, lightning speed during these last seasons and he’s considered in the entire world, a great challenger of the champion in title.
If you only look at the statistics, you’ll conclude that Lewis Hamilton is the undisputed number 1 in Formula 1. The Briton has managed to win 5 titles in the last six seasons and is writing history at almost all standards as the renown legend Michael Schumacher. Max Verstappen can only dream of such results, but the numbers do not tell the entire story.
VERSTAPPEN IS BECOMING A PERFECTIONIST
The improvement curve of Verstappen is considerably increasing, the young racer goes from a teenager who’s made many mistakes to a flawless racer in all circumstances. He has succesfully managed to improve every little angle in these recent years, without ever reducing his racing pace.
During his first years in Formula 1, qualifying at Grand prix was the hardest part for Verstappen. In 2015, qualifications with Sainz were still average, in 2016 Daniel Ricciardo had the advantage with his Red Bull. Since 2018 started, he totally beat Ricciardo as well as Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon. In his last season with Red Bull, Ricciardo received a 6 against 15 smack for the Dutchman.
Apart from the inside duel, Verstappen repeatedly proved being better during the trials. The Red Bull was the third fastest car of the weekend, but he still hit the fastest record no less than three times. He was even in front of one of the Ferraries several times as well as the one of the Mercedes.
Hamilton, on the second hand, lost some of his qualifying speed in 2019 ,and despite a dominant car, only won five pole positions, a similar result to his teammate Valtteri Bottas. The Briton was the king of F1 qualifications, with a record number of 88 poles.
What can we expect from someone with his age in this field? The question that the whole world asked when Verstappen made his F1 debut at 17. Already quite mature, but often cheeky, a case normal to his age.
His comments, often targeted in the media, are an example among many, the stress and pressure during a GP weekend is still quite difficult to manage for a young driver. Under the wing of Helmut Marko and Christian Horner, Verstappen has dealed with an enormous lot the last two seasons. so many mistakes in practice sessions, others in strategy during the races. But one thing is for sure, with Verstappen nothing is ever boring.
Verstappen is balanced. It shows with no doubt in super fast records and excellent results. Often times when something goes wrong during the races, he knows how to avoid it. Adding to that his unshaken trust in team tactics is remarkable, something that Hamilton masters perfectly.
MORE AND MORE PERFORMANT
Verstappen never stepped down from a fight and the same is expected for the upcoming seasons, he selects his moments with much care and precision and does not allow any risqué temptations. The master of catch-ups also put the public back on track in 2019 and continuously surprises Hamilton and Leclerc with his actions. As soon as his opponents see the car whose starting number is 33 looming in their mirrors, they expect an attack.
On a clear track, the pace of Verstappen is very steady and the tire control is excellent, he even became known for that. Partly thanks to his expertise concerning that area, he managed to gain a tactical advantage in these last seasons.
The Red Bull-Honda collaboration
It’s at Mercedes that people are mostly concerned by the certain progress of Red Bull and Honda. The Japanese advanced very well, providing Red Bull with a competitive engine for the first time in years. In addition, Honda’s development in 2019 was considerably fast. Mercedes, on the other hand, needs to take a different approach, seeing that the current concept of the engine is not so expandable. For the first time since Hybrid V6 engines were introduced in 2014, the German power source is no longer dominant, but overall very reliable and steadfast.
Red Bull experienced another bad start in season 2019, but since the 2020 aerodynamic and technical regulations remain the same, the new RB16 is already feared. Red Bull has often had the strongest car chassis in every final phase of the recent seasons, it’s now up to the team to expand furthermore this winter.
If the gap between Mercedes and Red Bull is getting smaller and smaller, Hamilton knows that he will have Verstappen at his side all season. In 2019, there were about five races in which the Dutchman could have made up for his delay but no luck. With 22 Grand prix on the calendar this time, it’s a different story. Verstappen has nothing to lose and thriving hunger for success.
THE MASTER AND THE APPRENTICE
Verstappen, only 22 years old, knows how to improve at lightning speed, and with each new Grand Prix, he’s a few steps closer to Hamilton.
Hamilton has had the advantage over Verstappen in the last seasons. He has also seen and experienced pretty much everything . This sport has no more secrets for him. The only asset Hamilton has over the Red Bull driver is that he is formidable in the fight. Verstappen hasn’t yet claimed such a position in Formula 1, but for now there is no sign that the pressure upon him brings along a paralyzing effect.
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THE NEXT RACE 2021
|02:00 - 03:30||Free practice 1|
|06:00 - 07:30||Free practice 2|
|04:00 - 05:00||Free practice 3|
|07:00 - 07:18||Qualifying|
|06:10 - 08:10||Race|