Max Verstappen Begins Bid To Beat Mercedes: “You Can Feel the Difference To Last Year”

Published 03/09/2021, 7:00 AM EST
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


Red Bull driver Max Verstappen will look to mount a legitimate challenge for the Driver’s Championship in 2021. The Dutchman was very positive about the feel of the RB16B, the team’s challenger for 2021.

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Verstappen has been very good since making his debut for Red Bull in 2016. He has shown his talent on many occasions with it most apparent when he finished the 2016 Driver’s Championship in fifth. 

He was barely eight points behind Sebastian Vettel that year, despite having spent some of that season at Toro Rosso.

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Verstappen enters 2021 after finishing third in the driver’s championship in successive seasons. He has been let down by having a slightly inferior car to the Mercedes.

Max Verstappen likes the feel of the new car, the RB16B

In an interview, the Dutchman was very happy to be driving the new car.

“It’s always good to be back in the car. I like the break but once you’re standing here and you see the car ready to go, you’re just itching to get back in, especially to get into a Formula One car.

“The first time you go out of the pits is always such a great feeling. Now, I’m just looking forward to race weekends again.”

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS: Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing is pictured speaking to his father, Jos Verstappen as he drives the first laps at the official opening for the upcoming Dutch GP F1 or Formula One race which will be held at Circuit Zandvoort in Zandvoort, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images for Red Bull Racing)

He started the day by driving the 2019 car, the RB15. The Dutchman explained his reasoning behind that saying, “Initially I started with the RB15 to just get into it again after the break, to get a few laps in, and then I jumped into the RB16B.

“It was a filming day but it’s useful to get comfortable with the car, with the engine, and trying to make things run smoothly and try to be the best prepared you can be to go testing in Bahrain.”

He explained the differences between the two saying, “There are changes and you can feel the difference to last year. The floor is quite different and so the car is always going to behave differently. But filming days are not about set-up work as that will be done in Bahrain.”

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Can the Flying Dutchman mount a sustained challenge?

Verstappen has been scuppered in his title bids because he’s always been on the wrong end of retirements of his car. This nearly always happens in the initial few races.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 during the Red Bull Racing RB16 launch at Silverstone Circuit in Northampton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

This leads to Lewis Hamilton building an early and substantial lead over the Dutchman. This gives him a lot of ground to make up in the second half of the season.

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He’ll be hoping that the Honda updates help him win a few races initially and build a lead. That way, he can put pressure on Hamilton and could maybe entice a few mistakes out of Hamilton and Mercedes.

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Ashish Thomas

211 articles

Ashish Thomas is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having followed motorsports since age 5, Ashish holds an enviable knowledge of F1 history. Ashish holds extensive experience in sports writing, having previously worked for SportsQuest and Fansided.

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