Lewis Hamilton Retiring Key To Verstappen Becoming F1 World Champion: Palmer

Published 12/17/2020, 2:16 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton allows second placed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to hold the trophy while on the podium after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon


Lewis Hamilton blitzed to the 2020 F1 Drivers’ title this year, with almost no competition for the accolade. But, his teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen were able to secure a few wins to remain in the mix.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Verstappen, in particular, enjoyed a strong season, often pressuring the Mercedes cars in front. Ultimately, he had to occupy the P3 position on most occasions.

Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer thinks that Verstappen is definitely ‘championship material’. At the same time, he also believes that a lot of factors need to come together for him to win the title – with Hamilton’s retirement, being one of them.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Writing in his column, Palmer stated, “Excellent as Hamilton was, though, separating his performances and those of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is as hard as it was last year.”

Little to choose between Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen, says Palmer

“Verstappen will be an F1 champion in the future. He just needs the tools to be able to do it, and arguably he needs Hamilton to retire for that chance,” Palmer added.

The Dutchman’s competitive pace was quite evident in the Abu Dhabi GP. If he can show more of that in the 2021 season, he could pose a genuine title challenge to Hamilton.

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

Palmer continued, “Albon failed to get within 0.3 seconds of Verstappen in any qualifying session in 2020. Red Bull were effectively a one-car team, with Verstappen demonstrating what a world-beating driver can do.”

“All in all, I think there was little to choose between Hamilton and Verstappen in terms of what they achieved in the year, given their machinery,” concluded Palmer on the subject.

An improved Red Bull car can give Mercedes a tough fight

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

For some time now, Red Bull Racing has expressed an intention to take the fight to Mercedes. In the 2020 season finale, they certainly showed that was possible.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace

More importantly, the consistency and sustainability of the Honda power unit in 2021 become crucial for Max’s title chances. That extra bit of energy from the engine can make a key difference of milliseconds.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Hence, Verstappen, combined with an improved RB17 next year, can certainly challenge the imperious Hamilton. But only time will tell, whether that will result in a title win for the Dutchman.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT