Verstappen has surpassed Hamilton: ‘He wouldn’t be that fast in a Red Bull’

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Verstappen has surpassed Hamilton: 'He wouldn't be that fast in a Red Bull'

Analyst Peter Windsor has praised Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing in his latest YouTube video. He praises Verstappen and Red Bull for their consistent performance, while the other teams are clearly experiencing the season with peaks and valleys. In addition, Windsor thinks that Verstappen would now be too fast for Lewis Hamilton, both in a less competitive car and in a Red Bull.

Before Windsor answers questions from listeners, he first returns to the Italian Grand Prix. ‘It is unbelievable for Max that he has now won ten times in a row. What a milestone! The more I watch Max, and the more I think about what he’s doing, the more I realize he’s showing how good he really is,” says Windsor. “I’m not just talking about him being world-class in his own generation, but that he’s one of the all-time greats, there’s no doubt about that.”

The great contrast with teammate Sergio Pérez, who is now 145 points behind Verstappen, is proof of this. ‘He always brings everything together in a race, with so many different factors. His talent is demonstrated by Pérez, who occasionally shows good races and would have won the Italian Grand Prix if it had not been for Max. Sergio (Pérez, ed.) is not bad, but Max just shows how good he is. No car is perfect, and Max always has to work for it.’

Red Bull is the complete picture

There are hardly any areas for improvement in the Verstappen-Red Bull combination, and this is demonstrated by the results. ‘Now that the championship has been decided in 2023, I am increasingly realizing that Red Bull is much more than the aerodynamics of Adrian Newey. Of course it starts there, with the CFD simulations and the work in the wind tunnel, but you also have to translate that into practice. They make sure they make it work within the budget cap and within the CFD restrictions.” As world champion, Red Bull has fewer aerodynamic testing options at its disposal than its competitors, and it will also serve a penalty until the end of October for exceeding the budget limit in 2021. In 2022, Red Bull, like the other nine teams, did comply. to the financial rules.

Windsor explains that the puzzle is much more complicated than just building a faster car. ‘They also make sure the car doesn’t bounce, they have to find the right ride height, and adjust the suspension front and rear, make sure you can drive well over the curbs, and know exactly how much wing you need on a circuit with little downforce, and the same on a circuit with a lot of downforce. You also need to know how the car reacts when the amount of fuel varies, and you can’t test all that in the free practice sessions. This comes from the understanding you have of Formula 1, with the current regulations with the ground effect.’

This is all more than in order with the constructors’ champion. ‘The only team that consistently does a good job managing all these variables, with their package, is Red Bull. The last time they made a mistake (with the adjustment, ed.) was in Brazil.’ That is the only Grand Prix of the last 25 that was not won by Red Bull. ‘They also had an extra factor there with the sprint weekend. How do you adjust the car if you can no longer touch it after the first training?’

No magic formula for the challengers

‘That is one of the reasons why the rest have such a hard time performing consistently. “McLaren seems to have a lot of downforce now, but doesn’t seem to know how to solve it on a track with less downforce,” Windsor notes. McLaren did not get further than eighth place in Monza, while in Belgium it did not score too well on a fast circuit with seventh place. ‘They have a lot of downforce, but they don’t know how to get it out of the car. We saw that they couldn’t achieve that in Monza, while Red Bull did. “Ferrari is at the other end of the spectrum: they don’t have nearly as much downforce as McLaren, so they’re not that bad at Monza, but because they lack downforce they have a lot of problems making the tires work.”

So far, Red Bull has been the fastest on each of the fourteen completely different circuits. ‘Red Bull constantly knows how to find the golden mean. That starts with Newey and trickles down through the entire organization. If you look at some of the Red Bull guys who have left Newey’s department for other teams, you see that there is no magic solution. Aston Martin started the season very strongly, but that car was mainly designed by Andy Green. Now that Green’s effect is fading away, you see little progress anymore. So it is not a magic formula to simply take over a Newey aerodynamics specialist (Dan Fallows, ed.).”

Verstappen has surpassed Hamilton

The two most successful drivers in Formula 1 are Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. While Hamilton dominated until 2020, Verstappen has now taken over. “Many people will say that Verstappen does a much better job when the car is not so good, and that is probably the case,” Windsor suspects that Verstappen is a step further. ‘Hamilton has less experience with that, and will therefore be less motivated than someone like Max. That’s more of a psychological difference.’

Not only in a mediocre car would Verstappen have the upper hand in the head-to-head duel, Windsor does not think that Hamilton can match the Dutchman in the RB19 either. ‘Technically they are very similar. With where Lewis is now, I don’t think he would be as fast as Max in a Red Bull. Partly because Max has a good relationship with Adrian (Newey, ed.) and knows the team so well, but Lewis also needs to grow again with Mercedes to become as good as in 2019, when he did very well. As far as I’m concerned, it’s now more difficult for Lewis to get back to that level.’

Although there is little room for improvement in Verstappen’s results, Windsor believes that the world champion has not yet reached his peak. “Verstappen is getting better and better, because he is also learning to read the other drivers better in terms of driving style,” said Windsor, who indicates that Verstappen observed Sainz carefully before his overtaking action in Italy. “I think Oscar Piastri is one of the few drivers who is now learning from Verstappen.”

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