Verstappen ‘still suffering’ from Red Bull misfortune

Max Verstappen is battling Charles Leclerc for the championship this season after his intense battle with Sir Lewis Hamilton in 2021.

Former Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen notes that there is more “respect” between Red Bull and Ferrari than the Austrian outfit had with Mercedes last year.

Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton engaged in an extremely tense title battle with Sir Lewis Hamilton in 2021, and the pair won an astonishing 18 races of the 22 between them.

Littered in amongst their brilliance though were many controversial incidents, which included scary accidents in Silverstone and Monza, before more on-track drama unfolded in Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

It led to plenty of petulant bickering between respective team principals Toto Wolff and Christian Horner, while Jos affirmed that the potential interest that existed in his son joining Mercedes had disappeared after his relationship with the Austrian capitulated.

They seemed to bury the hatchet at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix earlier this season, and the 50-year-old does not believe that this season’s title battle between Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will be as toxic.

“I’m sure it will not go like last season,” he told de Telegraaf.

“In that area, things are now much more relaxed with Ferrari.”

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto theorised that Red Bull would eventually have to “stop developing” owing to the upgrades that have already introduced this season eating into their further refined development budget.

Jos cannot say for sure how true those claims are, but emphasises that the lack of engine disparity now amid the new technical regulations is highlighting the brilliance of both teams from a developmental perspective.

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“Apart from that, of course they do not know how much is being spent at Red Bull. There is more respect than there was [with Mercedes] last year,” he explained.

“It is also great that there are no huge differences between the different engines, which means we’re no longer looking at an engine formula.”

“If Ferrari has done its homework well and brought an upgrade package, I assume they have become faster,” he said. “And I’m curious how much exactly.”

The two-time podium finisher notes that the reigning world champion is a lot more relaxed now that he has got his first championship in the bag.

“It all seems a bit more sensitive this year – it is not yet 100 percent. Of course, if you look at the points, Max is still suffering from those two retirements,” added Jos.

“On the other hand, he is very relaxed and the pressure of ‘having to win’ may have lifted after that world title, but it’s not like it has really changed anything.

READ: Red Bull to bring further upgrades after Spain but Horner admits Ferrari could have the edge at Monaco

“He is showing that with his results.”

Verstappen is 19 points behind Leclerc coming into this weekend in Spain after winning three races while suffering from reliability failures in the other two.