Damon Hill saw Max Verstappen again take victory relatively easily in Brazil and he thinks that even his Dutch fans would prefer a fiercer battle for victory in Formula 1. Verstappen will generally win in 2023 with a considerable lead over his nearest opponent, but according to Hill, the fans prefer to see exciting battles and beautiful overtaking actions.
Verstappen is having an unprecedented strong and dominant season in 2023. The 26-year-old Dutchman won no fewer than seventeen of the twenty races held so far and only had to compete with the competition sporadically. Hill thinks that even his Dutch fans are now looking forward to more exciting races at the top of the field. “I think even Dutch fans, Max fans, would like to see him do the same but in the heat of the battle,” Hill said on Sky Sports.
Hill then immediately emphasizes that he thinks it is incredible what Red Bull and Verstappen have achieved this season, but the dominance of the three-time world champion does not benefit the sport. “It’s amazing what they do and it’s crazy what they’ve achieved, but we love racing and they love racing. I mean, I barely saw Max during the Grand Prix,” the 1996 world champion explains his position. “He was simply going around in circles.”
It looks simple to outsiders, but Verstappen stated after the São Paulo Grand Prix that Norris kept him on his toes. Hill thinks that the Red Bull driver would actually have wanted to give a different answer and the Briton thinks back to his own period in the premier class of motorsport. ‘I won matches by a big margin. Everyone would say what a great achievement that was, but you actually wanted to answer that to be honest it wasn’t very difficult. Everything fell my way and I made no mistakes,” he remembers.
Overtaking actions stay with the viewer
According to Hill, fans on the track and viewers at home want to see exciting battles and great overtakes. Those are the elements you remember, thinks the single world champion. “I think Lewis overtook Checo in a great way from the outside in the first or second lap,” he gives an example of such an overtaking action. ‘Those are the things we live for. The fight between Sergio Pérez and Fernando Alonso also left us on the edge of our seats. That’s what we want. But that’s how it’s always been. I always saw Jackie Stewart disappearing over the horizon in the 1970s. We must not become despondent either. The reporting is also much better now than it was then. Then you saw nothing at all,” concludes Hill.