Formula One racer Max Verstappen has a strong belief that he can act as a roadblock for Lewis Hamilton in his quest for winning a seventh Formula One title this season if Red Bull gives him proper tools for the job. The 22-year-old racer three races last season and finished third in the championship. He told the media that he is not awed by Hamilton's performance as he feels Formula One is very much car-dependant.
The Dutch racer mentioned that Hamilton is good and one of the best out there but he does not hail him as a god. Hamilton is chasing Michael Schumacher's record of seven titles this season and is the winner of the last five out of six championships with Mercedes.
Hamilton is not god: Verstappen
"We really want to mount a challenge to especially Mercedes and I think we can do that," said Verstappen, who last month signed a contract extension to the end of 2023 and has a new English trainer and physio for 2020. He said the new contract had taken away the hassle of being asked all the time about his future, removing another potential distraction.
Verstappen suggested Hamilton could be vulnerable if put under sustained pressure, with the Briton having singled out Verstappen already last year as someone he gave more space to because of his aggressive reputation. "I'm very much looking forward to it, everybody's fired up and everybody's very motivated. Coming off last year, at the end, we were very competitive," said the Dutch driver.
Verstappen and teammate will have pre-season on February 19
Team boss Christian Horner said Red Bull, who use Honda engines, would be helped by stable regulations and were looking to apply the lessons learned from 2019 to take the fight to Mercedes and Ferrari. The new car will have its first track shakedown behind closed doors at Silverstone on Feb 12, with Verstappen and Thai teammate Alexander Albon starting pre-season testing in Barcelona on Feb. 19.
"Honda did such a great job, each introduction of an engine last year brought more performance and more power and it feels we're getting very, very close now to Mercedes," said Horner, whose team were third overall in 2019. "That, therefore, puts the emphasis on the chassis side of the team... going into this year we feel better prepared, earlier, than we have certainly in the last five years."