F1 managing director Ross Brawn says Max Verstappen’s current form demonstrates why he deserves to be given a car which can win every race.
Verstappen had a difficult start to 2018, becoming embroiled in a number of incidents while Daniel Ricciardo claimed two victories in the opening six races. The Dutchman also collided with his teammate at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
However, since Ricciardo’s win at the Monaco Grand Prix, the form has reversed: in the nine races since Verstappen has claimed five podiums — including a shock victory in Austria — while Ricciardo has finished no higher than fourth. Verstappen has also out-qualified Ricciardo every weekend since the Australian took pole position in Monaco.
Verstappen’s latest podium came at the Singapore Grand Prix, where he qualified and finished second. Brawn has been impressed by the improvements Verstappen has shown this year.
Referring to his Singapore display, Brawn said: “It shows that the Dutchman has all the hallmarks of a future champion. It’s not enough to just produce phenomenal performances in some races if others are marred by silly mistakes, but more and more Verstappen’s races are characterised by not just prodigious pace but also composure.
“Max is growing in stature and he now needs a car with which he can always fight for victory, not just in certain situations. And even if Red Bull is a relatively young team, it has shown through their past success that they know how to do that.”
One of Verstappen’s biggest errors this season was a clumsy attempt to overtake Lewis Hamilton in the latter stages of the Chinese Grand Prix, when a late Safety Car period and tyre change propelled the Red Bulls into contention for the victory. However, Verstappen’s rash move allowed Ricciardo to pass and the Australian slowly pulled off the overtakes he needed to claim Red Bull’s first win of the year.
Brawn thinks one moment in Singapore showed he has learned from some of his earlier mistakes, when he closed on Hamilton’s car when the Mercedes driver got held up by traffic. Despite getting close to overtake, Verstappen did not make any rash move for the lead.
“Even then he avoided unnecessary risks, perhaps aware that he didn’t have a real chance of winning,” Brawn added.