Max Verstappen warned he can’t dominate like Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen has now won two back-to-back drivers’ championships

Max Verstappen had the season of his life in 2022, storming to his second consecutive world championship, facing little opposition on his way.

The Dutchman won a record 15 races over the course of the season, obliterating the previous record of 13 that was held by Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher.

Ferrari initially started the year strong before being out-developed by Red Bull, while Mercedes were forced to focus their attention on solving their porpoising problem, essentially rendering them uncompetitive for the first half of the season.

While a comfortable victory would certainly have been welcomed by Verstappen and his team, the 25-year-old has suggested that he would much rather have a close battle with a rival, similar to the 2021 season, than stroll to glory season after season.

READ: Lewis Hamilton doesn’t think Max Verstappen will mature

“Already after last year, I said if I can have a season like this again, that would be amazing,” he claimed.

“But yeah, again, incredible, but also the whole team effort, it’s been really enjoyable to be a part of.”

Recent history has shown that once a driver wins a championship with a strong team, they tend to enter a period of dominance, such as Sebastian Vettel with Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton with Mercedes.

The only recent exception to this trend is Nico Rosberg, but he chose not to defend his victory, bowing out of the sport on a high rather that beginning another season with Mercedes. 

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Former F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen believes that Verstappen will not be able to dominate the sport in this manner, such is the impact of the recent regulation changes designed to bring the field closer together.

“Regulations of Formula 1 are different now than it used to be in my time or use to be three, four years ago, so it’s giving a lot of opportunities to other teams for success,” explained the 1998 and 1999 champion.

READ: Lando Norris says he wants to be like Sebastian Vettel

“So I don’t think it’s so straightforward that way he will continue dominating, even [thought] he is a great driver. I’m confident we will see some surprises, but who? I don’t know.”

Wind tunnel testing time is now scaled down based on a team’s finishing position in the championship, meaning the worser teams are granted more time to develop their aerodynamics in an attempt to help them close in on the more successful teams.

Red Bull will receive the least amount of testing time in 2023 due to their title winning 2022 season, and will also see this time cut by ten percent as punishment for their 2021 cost cap breach, giving their rivals an advantage that Toto Wolff has said his team must take advantage of.