Tag Archives: Hamilton

Charles Leclerc aiming to dethrone Lewis Hamilton after Ferrari drop hint over car

“After other people have done their work, we’ll see how it goes on track. So yes I hope we’ll be back in command soon.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is also hopeful that Ferrari can begin to turn things around this season with Carlos Sainz teaming up with Leclerc.

“I think last year the main issue was the speed on the straight line, not only the power but also drag,” said Binotto.

“We’ve worked a lot, both on the power unit and the car aerodynamics, to reduce the drag of the car.

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Red Bull boss backs down in Lewis Hamilton Mercedes war of words as Max Verstappen warned

Red Bull chief Christian Horner has hailed the achievements of Lewis Hamilton – despite previously speaking down the Briton’s feats and attributing much of his success to his Mercedes car while talking up his own driver Max Verstappen.
Speaking last year, Horner declared that Red Bull’s No 1 driver Verstappen – a 10-time Grands Prix winner – is superior to seven-time world champion Hamilton, who has 95 race wins as well as unparalleled 98 pole positions.

The 47-year-old claimed that George Russell’s pace in the Mercedes at the Sakhir Grand Prix, although he only finished ninth in the race in Bahrain, proved that when Hamilton was absent with COVID-19.

Horner said: “Max and Lewis stand out for me, but while we absolutely should not be blind to all that Hamilton has achieved, he does have access to a good package while Max has to get more and more out of his car.

“You can see that by the fact that a driver from Williams qualified directly on the front row of the grid and almost won the race.

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“If someone had to get into Max’s car, if he had coronavirus, they would never reach his level of performance.”

It is not the first time Horner has hailed Verstappen as better than Hamilton, and the Briton said in response back in the summer of 2019: “I don’t compare myself with anyone, I don’t need to. I don’t really have an answer to these claims.

“Every once in a while someone needs certain attention. I think Max has been doing a great job and the last race was fantastic. It will be interesting to see how they do moving forward.”

But despite the other verbals between the duo, with Horner also hitting out at Hamilton after he clashed with Alex Albon at the Austrian Grand Prix last year, the Red Bull boss has now come out to lavish praise on the 36-year-old.

Red Bull have replaced Albon with Sergio Perez and are hoping that the Mexican and Verstappen can get the better of Hamilton in 2021 to deny him a fifth straight Drivers’ Championship.

And speaking about defending title-winner Hamilton, Horner told Sky Sports F1 that it will be a mighty task for the Milton Keynes-team to down the Silver Arrows and in particular outpace his countryman.

He said: “Lewis, what he’s achieved… Sir Lewis now of course. He’s achieved so much.

“Seven world titles is truly, truly impressive and he’s going to be pumped up and going for that record-breaking eighth title.

“I really hope that our guys can take the fight to him this year.

“We’ve craving for that as I’m sure other fans in F1 are, that there’s a fight for this year’s championship.

“Lewis is in formidable form and he’s at the top of his game and will be extremely hard to beat this year.”

Horner added of Red Bull’s aims: “It’s certainly our target [to beat Mercedes]. We’ve also had a regulation change – a subtle regulation change but it’s still quite impactful.

“So the whole team has worked incredibly hard in difficult conditions obviously over the winter with the lockdown and so on.

“Hopefully we can come out of the box competitively, that’s been our Achilles heel in previous years, we haven’t turned up and been competitive from the get-go.

“Hopefully this year we can be competitive from the first race in Bahrain.”

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Speaking after the unveiling of Red Bull’s 2021 car, the RB16B, Verstappen put the pressure on Mercedes by insisting that the world champions remain the team to beat.

He said: “Mercedes will start as favourite, they almost have to. They still had the most dominant car at the end of last season and also gave up on further development much earlier.

“I am always very realistic and it makes no sense to talk about stuff now. We have to go to Bahrain and look at it there. In the first race we will know if we succeeded or not.

“I don’t like to talk it up at the moment. We know where we want to be and where we want to get to and that’s what we have to realise.”

Mercedes have been tipped to target Verstappen at the end of this season if Hamilton retires, provided he surpasses Michael Schumacher with an eighth title.

The 23-year-old Dutchman is said to have a clause in his contract that allows him to leave Red Bull dependent on unspecified circumstances.

Asked about the possibility of such a switch, Verstappen said: “I don’t know what Lewis is going to do. I just focus on myself and I am very focused on this year and trying to make it a success.

“It is so early in the season that those kinds of things I am not really thinking about at this stage.”

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Max Verstappen refuses to rule out replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

Max Verstappen has refused to rule out replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner fears that the Dutchman will be at the top of Toto Wolff’s wishlist.
Hamilton has only committed his future to Mercedes until the end of the 2021 season.

The 36-year-old is expected to pull away from Michael Schumacher by claiming his eighth world title this year.

And then the Brit could retire from F1 and leave the Silver Arrows needing a new superstar to lead the team.

Verstappen is widely regarded as the quickest man on the grid, alongside Hamilton, and would be aptly placed to make the move.

However, he refused to be drawn on such speculation – although he did not rule out a transfer either.

“At the end of the day I don’t know, of course, what Lewis is going to do,” said Verstappen. “I just focus on myself.

“I’m very focused on this year and trying to make it a success.

“So early in the season, with only a basically a shakedown, those kind of things I’m not really thinking about at this stage.”

Verstappen is under contract with Red Bull until 2023 but there is a clause in his deal which could let him walk away for free.

If Red Bull do not provide the driver with a car capable finishing in the top three of the Drivers’ CHampionship then he will be allowed to leave.

And Horner reckons Mercedes will not think twice about snapping the youngster up should he become available.

“I’m sure that should Lewis decide to stop then Max would naturally be the driver at the top of the list,” said Horner.

“But they also have George Russell, they’ve also got other drivers obviously available to them on.”

He added: “All drivers have safeguards within performance and the reality is that yes, of course, as there has always been, there is an element of performance related to Max’s contract.

“I’m not going to go into what that is. It doesn’t relate to the power unit in any way, it’s just a binary performance at a certain measurement in time.

“As with all these things to force a driver that doesn’t want to be there… it’s more about relationships than contracts, and you only pull a contract out of a drawer when you’ve got a problem, in my experience.”

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