Ferrari Would Make it a Lot Harder for Us: Lewis Hamilton Sympathizes With Verstappen’s Struggles

Published 12/19/2020, 4:10 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton speaks to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili


On Friday, Red Bull made the announcement that fans had been keenly waiting for. After much deliberations and discussions, they signed Sergio Perez to replace Alex Albon as their second driver.

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The consensus in the paddock is that it is the right decision. And now Lewis Hamilton is throwing his weight behind it, too. It is because he feels that Max Verstappen has been the lone ranger for the team this season.

Alex Albon failed in his quest to support him during races. This allows Mercedes to corner Max with their strategy calls. They either nullify his threat from behind or pressure him in the rare moments when he is leading the race.

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Formula One F1 – Eifel Grand Prix – Nurburgring, Nurburg, Germany – October 11, 2020 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen behind the safety car during the race Pool via REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

“It’s really been, with respect to Alex, in the races that we’ve had, it’s been me and Valtteri against Max,” said Lewis Hamilton.

Hence, he believes that he did not fit the bill as the driver of a top team like Red Bull. Whereas with Perez and the form he is in, it makes them more competitive as a team. Asserting that they will face a tougher challenge from them in 2021, he said,

“So I think naturally, this makes Red Bull stronger, particularly with the way Sergio is performing. I think it’s going to be an exciting battle to watch him up against Max, and that’s going to make it much harder for us as a team.”

Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton speaks with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Jose Sena Goulao

Lewis Hamilton was in a similar situation at Mclaren

The Brit can relate to Max’s pain. During the 2008 and 2009 seasons with the Woking-based outfit, he was teammates with Heikki Kovalainen.

The Finn only mustered half the points as Lewis in their time together. Despite having a fast car, Kovalainen barely competed at the front of the grid.

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“Now I’ve been in the position that Max is in once… particularly when I was at McLaren where I was the lead car, and the second car wasn’t in the fight, so when we were fighting against Ferrari they could play, they could really move around with the strategy, and make it a lot harder for us.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – November 29, 2020 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates with a trophy on the podium after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Since Red Bull and Max are the biggest threat to his team’s chances next season, it is a little surprising that he is almost delighted with the move.

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Perhaps he wants the sport to be competitive just as much as the fans. Maybe by winning the title next year in a closely fought battle, he can claim the ‘GOAT’ throne once and for all.

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Bharat Aggarwal

755 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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