Verstappen “Will Never Be Ready” If He Can’t Handle F1 Title Fight Now: Villeneuve

Published 06/02/2021, 5:55 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 8, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during the press conference after qualifying in second position FIA/Handout via REUTERS

After an impressive win in Monaco, Max Verstappen took the lead in the driver’s championship for the first time in his career. His win also helped Red Bull to a massive points haul in the Principality, making them leapfrog Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.


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Although Verstappen is one of the best on the grid, Red Bull haven’t been able to sustain a title challenge in recent seasons. However, they look stronger than ever this year. Former F1 world champion, Jacques Villeneuve, believes this season is Verstappen’s best chance to win the title.

Villeneuve: If Max Verstappen isn’t ready now, he will never be ready


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Although Max is only 23 years old, he’s in his sixth season with Red Bull Racing. Year after year, he has been a major threat to both Mercedes drivers in their quest for the world championship. However, with the Austrian outfit coming up short in terms of machinery, Verstappen couldn’t sustain his threat to the Silver Arrows.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 9, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium with the trophy after winning the race alongside Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who finished in second place REUTERS/Albert Gea

This season, the story looks different. Red Bull finally seem to be ahead of Mercedes, and Verstappen has extracted every single drop of potential the car has this season. Villeneuve, who won the world championship in 1997, believes if the Dutchman isn’t ready this season, he will never be ready.

“He’s been around long enough! If he is not ready now, he will never be ready,” said Villeneuve.


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Villeneuve believes Perez might be a bigger problem for Red Bull at the moment

Although he finished P4 in Monaco, Sergio Perez is yet to make a mark this season with Red Bull. Villeneuve thinks the Mexican needs to step up in order to help Red Bull’s strategy to win the championship this season.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 17, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who qualified in P3 with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez who qualified in P2 REUTERS/Bryn Lennon Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon

The Canadian said, “Now the bigger problem is that Perez isn’t in the fight. He was fast but somehow things have gone wrong, like in Imola when he qualified in front.

“Mercedes have two cars and they can use [Valtteri] Bottas on strategy. When you have two cars, it makes it a lot easier to get the strategy right.”


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However, Villeneuve believes Perez is at the same level as Bottas. “Perez is at least on Valtteri’s level driving-wise. At some point it will turn around,” said Villeneuve.

With the championship battle finely poised, Baku could be a major game-changer this season. Should Red Bull outsmart Mercedes on June 6, they can extend their lead on the defending champions.

Can Perez step up to the plate with Verstappen to bring home more points for the Austrian outfit?


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Sanket Nair

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Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.