Monday, 5 December 2016

F1: The Whole World Wants Verstappen In A Mercedes Next Year


Actually, that's not entirely true. I'm pretty sure the Red Bull team wants to keep Max in their colours (although I'm sure Daniel Ricciardo would appreciate a rest) and Lewis Hamilton would most certainly like to see Bottas, Hulkenberg or Wehrlein in Nico Rosberg's recently vacated seat.

Everyone else with an interest in F1 wants to see Verstappen go up against Hamilton.

We need to find out exactly how good each man really is. Hamilton has had three very easy years in a Mercedes which has been the class of the field and then some. Partnered with a driver universally acknowledged to be in the middle of the pack, the only real question outstanding is how did Hamilton manage to lose to Rosberg so often?

Verstappen on the other hand has demonstrated incredible progress since promotion to Red Bull. He's quick, brave and, at times, reckless. He's prepared to step outside the rules and he's young enough to still feel invincible.

The two would guarantee real fireworks in F1. Especially important if, as I expect, Mercedes manages to build a car that leaves the rest of the field in the dust again.

So now it is up to Toto Wolff and Bernie Ecclestone to ensure that Verstappen is extracted from his Red Bull contract, whatever the cost, and plugged into next year's Mercedes.

Of the other contenders? Hamilton bested Alonso when he was still a rookie. It's unlikely to be much of a match up second time around. Vettel seems to perform only when the car is to his liking and I suspect he would find the Mercedes to be balanced towards Hamilton. Red Bull may be prepared to give up Ricciardo in order to keep Verstappen, however the Honey Badger has already come off second best to his younger team mate. Against Hamilton I don't think he'd fare much better.

If Red Bull keep hold of their drivers then the most likely choice seems to be Nico Hulkenberg. A German in a Mercedes is a politically good move for the team - especially after Rosberg clinched the title for the team. I expect Force India would be much happier to trade their driver for cash.

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