Mercedes convinced Verstappen a title threat in 2019

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff says the team has to consider Max Verstappen a title threat after the Red Bull driver followed up his two recent wins with pole position in Hungary.

Mercedes convinced Verstappen a title threat in 2019

With 11 of the 21 rounds run, Verstappen lies 63 points behind world championship leader Lewis Hamilton, and just 22 behind second-placed Valtteri Bottas.

The Dutchman, who has finished in the top five in every race thus far, has outscored the two Mercedes drivers over the last four races.

“Yes,” said Wolff when asked if Verstappen was a title threat. “I think there are 10 more races to go, so 260 points to score. What’s our advantage? Sixty-odd.

“You can see from the sheer maths that Max is somebody we need to take seriously and consider as a title rival in the same way we need to consider the two Ferrari drivers as title rivals. We cannot afford to take the foot off the throttle.”

Read Also:

Asked to assess Honda’s form, Wolff said: “First of all the Red Bull chassis was always among the best, and it still is. And then Honda has made a big step forward from last year to this year, and all credit to them.

“I’m happy to see that for F1, because a strong Honda is good for F1, good for the competition, and at the end if there’s a fourth power unit supplier that has a competitive package that is generally positive for all of us. And it also shows us that we’ve got to reinvent ourselves in a way, and I see this as really positive journey.”

After being beaten to pole by Verstappen, Bottas said that Red Bull and Honda’s recent surge will only encourage Mercedes to work harder.

“Obviously it always depends on the tracks and circumstances,” said the Finn. “But if you look at the trend, let’s say from the last five races, I think Red Bull has been the one who has been improving the most, closing the gap and today qualifying on pole.

“So, for sure they are doing many things right, and that means we have to work harder as a team. But I’m sure Ferrari isn’t standing still either.”

Wolff said he echoed his driver’s sentiments.

“I think he’s damn right,” said the Austrian when asked by Motorsport.com. “We had a good streak of success, and it feels now that probably the push that we need to do is even more. The others are catching up, and it’s easier to catch up than to maintain the level and setting the benchmark.

“There’s a reason why no one ever won six consecutive driver and constructor championships, because it is not easy. I guess we all know that, but we’ve got to push harder and smarter in order to stay ahead.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, Pole Sitter Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 in Parc Ferme

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, Pole Sitter Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Andrew Hone / LAT Images

shares
comments
Russell says run to 16th felt like a "pole lap"

Previous article

Russell says run to 16th felt like a "pole lap"

Next article

Top 10: Jules Bianchi career moments

Top 10: Jules Bianchi career moments
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Hungarian GP
Drivers Max Verstappen
Teams Red Bull Racing , Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Prime

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments.

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Prime

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Prime

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee.

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021