Max Verstappen was right to tell Red Bull he wasn’t prepared to slow down as he piled the pressure on Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at last weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. That is the opinion of F1 chief Ross Brawn, who has compared the Dutchman to the legendary Michael Schumacher.
Verstappen came out on top at Silverstone last Sunday as he ended Mercedes’ 100 per cent start to the 2020 season.
The 22-year-old’s victory came after he took matters into his own hands early on and told his team-mates he wouldn’t ease off as he closed on Hamilton and Bottas.
“Mate – this is the only chance of being close to the Mercedes,” said Verstappen to his race engineer on team radio. “I’m not just sitting behind like a grandma!”
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Verstappen’s wise call – coupled with his excellent tyre management and a superb Red Bull strategy – meant he got his first win of the year under his belt.
F1 managing director Brawn has now compared Verstappen to Schumacher, alongside whom he enjoyed immense success at Ferrari.
And he’s hailed the Red Bull talisman’s strong relationship with his team-mates, which he says was proven during the much-talked-about exchange on their team radio.
“Max was simply sensational at Silverstone,” wrote Brawn in his Formula1.com column. “He reminds me of Michael Schumacher in many ways. When you listen to his radio, he’s clearly got spare capacity.
“The limit of the car is not the limit of Max Verstappen. He is able to feel the subtlety of the car and respond perfectly. I remember Max’s early days in Formula 1 where his speed was clear – he has now matured in to an exceptional racing driver.
“I loved his radio, particularly when he said he didn’t want to ‘drive like a grandma’ when the team asked him to manage his tyres. It shows huge confidence and a relationship in the team, which is very strong.”
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Verstappen now sits second in the World Drivers’ Championship standings, between leader Hamilton and third-place Bottas.
He will be back in action on Sunday as the streamlined F1 circus makes its way to the Circuit de Catalunya for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The race was Verstappen’s first for Red Bull after he made the step up from Toro Rosso during the 2016 campaign.
And he secured his maiden F1 victory there that season after capitalising on Hamilton and then-Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg’s misfortune.
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