“If You Put Lewis in a Red Bull… He Won’t Be as Quick as Max”: Ex-Ferrari Boss Words 1 “Psychological” Difference Between the Duo to Draw Eye-Catching Conclusion

Published 09/09/2023, 10:30 AM EDT

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Superficially writing, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen don’t have a lot in common. Hamilton is a 38-year-old Brit who drives for Mercedes and has seven Drivers Championships. Verstappen is a 25-year-old Dutchman who drives for Red Bull and has two titles to his name. Technically, though, the 2021 rivals have a lot of similarities—they’re both early corner drivers, are excellent in wet-weather conditions and can maximize their cars’ potential once they’ve fully understood it. But psychologically, the two couldn’t be more different.

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Former Ferrari General Manager Peter Windsor has been around Formula 1 long enough to know just what sets drivers apart from one another. The difference he highlighted between Hamilton and Verstappen brought into question the achievability of the seven-time champion’s “unfinished business” with Mercedes.

Why does Max Verstappen have the upper hand on Lewis Hamilton?

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Considering their age difference, the two champions never raced each other during the same phase of their career. While the Dutchman is just starting to hit his stride, Hamilton is at the fag end of his career. In a YouTube livestream after the Italian GP, Peter Windsor mentioned the psychological difference between the two. He said, “Max, in the early phase of his career, if he’s not in a race-winning car, he’s still going to get the best from it. Whereas Lewis, if he’s at the back end of his career and he’s won seven World Championships in a very good race car, and then suddenly he’s given a bad handling car, then he’s not going to do as good a job.”

He continued, “Now, where Lewis is and what he’s done in the past if you put him in a Red Bull tomorrow, I don’t think he’ll be as quick as Max. Partly because Max has this rapport with Adrian Newey and knows the team incredibly well; knows the car.” Hamilton isn’t the same driver he was back when he joined F1. Getting suited to a new car now would be way more challenging than having had to do that in his prime. To return to his former championship-winning self, Windsor believes he’d have to “grow organically with Mercedes again.”

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Windsor led to an interesting conclusion, though. In light of Hamilton signing a two-year extension with Mercedes, “that should give him a lot more stability in his approach from here on in. But if the Mercedes continues to be a difficult car, no matter how good he is, he’s not going to be able to do much with it. Considering winning more championships with Mercedes is his “unfinished business,” achieving it could get challenging. While Windsor said seeing Hamilton back in his prime might not be possible, when an F1 legend suggested something similar (in harsher words), the Mercedes driver lashed out at him.

Lewis Hamilton defended himself against an F1 legend’s harsh words

In his livestream, Windsor said, “For me, it’s a more difficult ask for Lewis to get back to [his prime] level because he’s just gone through so much, and he is where he is in his career and his age.” On similar lines, three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart said in an interview with Bild, “Lewis no longer has that hunger [to win]. That [eighth title] also depends on Mercedes. It’s not impossible, but I still don’t think he’ll be able to do it.”

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Hearing what his compatriot—and someone he must’ve heard a lot about while growing up—had to say about his F1 motivations, Hamilton didn’t hold back while getting back at Stewart. He said, “There are people that are very short-minded, who make the comments that they do, not knowing the work that’s being done in the background. One day, when I stop, I want to be encouraging the next generation of drivers, letting them know it’s okay to make mistakes. Being inspiring rather than shutting them down.” Apart from setting his priorities straight, Hamilton subtly threw shade at Steward, suggesting that he would never demean another driver after retiring as Stewart did to him.

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Watch This Story: Lewis Hamilton Exposing Mercedes’ Mistake Termed a Blessing in Disguise After Miraculous Turnaround

Could Lewis Hamilton beat Max Verstappen in a Red Bull after getting used to the car, or will the Dutchman still have the upper hand?

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Written by:

Aditi Krishnan

757Articles

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Aditi is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports and is essentially a sportsperson. She fell in love with F1 in 2020. It happened when her brother tuned into that first race weekend in Austria, and she knew right then and there that she had to learn everything she could about the sport.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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