Max Verstappen insists he won’t copy Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen won his second consecutive world championship at the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this year.

Periods of dominance are not uncommon in Formula 1, with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes showing over the past decade that once you finally reach the top, it is not impossible to stay there for a while.

A whole host of new regulations have come into effect in recent years to counter this however, for example testing time for each team is scaled down based on the final constructors’ championship standings.

A cost cap was also introduced in 2021 with the aim of preventing the top teams with richer resources, such as Mercedes and Red Bull, from becoming a level above the smaller teams by simply outspending them.

Two-time world champion Max Verstappen has been a different class in 2022, as have his Red Bull team, but the Dutchman believes that he will struggle to recreate a Hamilton-esque level of dominance due to these new regulations.

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“The others are not stupid. And certainly with these rules, which are a bit more restrictive than the previous set of rules, everyone is getting closer together,” explained Verstappen.

“All teams now have an idea of which course to take so yes, I expect smaller differences next year, but that’s only good.

“Of course I hope that we are still ahead, but that is not at all as obvious as this year.”

Verstappen’s 15 wins in the 2022 season smashed the previous record of 13, which was held by Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher, in a stunning year for the 25-year-old where he was head and shoulders above the rest.

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While the new regulations promise to make the entire grid more competitive in the future, the fact that Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes won every single race in 2022 shows that it may take time to see the effects of the new rules.

Red Bull’s chances of dominating Formula 1 have taken a major hit before the 2023 season has even begun, as the team will have to make do with ten percent less wind tunnel time than they expected, as punishment for their breach of the 2021 cost cap.

Max Verstappen has shown that he is more than capable of retaining his championship on quality alone, but it remains to be seen if Red Bull will be able to develop him a car fast enough to match the resurging Ferrari and Mercedes.