Not all car: ‘Max Verstappen makes the difference’ at Red Bull

Max Verstappen has won nine races this season.

Dutch racing driver, Tom Coronel, sees a negative side to the current stranglehold his compatriot, Max Verstappen, has over Formula 1.

Verstappen brought an end to seven years of dominance by Mercedes in the Drivers’ Standings last season when he dramatically beat Sir Lewis Hamilton to the title.

Last year’s protagonists won 18 of the 22 races in 2021, with the 24-year-old claiming 10 as he and the seven-time champion became embroiled in a brutal battle.

They were involved in plenty of dramatic, controversial moments over the course of the campaign, including Silverstone, Monza, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and the final round in Abu Dhabi.

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The last lap shenanigans at the Yas Marina Circuit were a microcosm of the chaos that had brought so many viewers into F1.

With a non-Mercedes driver winning the title for the first time since Sebastian Vettel with Red Bull in 2013, the team’s adviser, Dr Helmut Marko, called it the “most important” the team have ever managed.

The Milton Keynes-based side did not manage to bring an end to the Silver Arrows’ stranglehold of the Constructors’ Championship though, with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas extending the team’s record to eight.

Things are much different this year though, with Verstappen and Sergio Perez taking the Austrian side to a 118-point championship lead over the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz going into the Dutch Grand Prix this weekend.

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That came after two wins in the first three for Leclerc, but he and Sainz have managed just one a piece between them since.

Verstappen has won nine, three of them coming in the last three races consecutively, while Perez won in Monaco earlier this year.

This time last year, three teams had won at least one race, and McLaren would go on to add to the list made up of Red Bull, Mercedes and Alpine.

Only Red Bull and Ferrari have been on the top step this season, with Hamilton and George Russell making 11 appearances on the rostrum between them.

McLaren’s Lando Norris is the only driver outside of the top three teams to finish in the top three this season, when he ended the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix P3 as Red Bull took the first of their four one-two finishes this season. 

Verstappen leads Perez by 93 points in the Drivers’ Standings after 14 rounds of the season, with Leclerc a further five back.

The reigning champion has eased to victory from 10th or lower in both of the last two races in Hungary and Belgium, so the lack of competition is slightly concerning for Coronel.

“This is not good for Formula 1!” he told the podcast.

Verstappen’s father and former F1 driver, Jos, naturally disagreed with the 50-year-old when they discussed it.

“I also texted Jos on Sunday, Formula 1 is now getting boring, It’s getting too predictable. 

“We had such a period with Michael Schumacher, where it was predictable who was going to win the race.

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“If you then look at the difference with Perez, it is not the car and not the team: it is Max Verstappen who makes the difference. 

“Jos said he is not interested, because winning the race is all that matters, that’s right!”

Verstappen is set to receive a huge ovation from his Dutch fans at his home race in Zandvoort this weekend.