Sep.15 (GMM) A new round of barbs fired between Red Bull and Mercedes personnel has set the scene for this weekend’s Singapore GP.
Hopes among Red Bull’s rivals are high that Max Verstappen will see his ten-race winning streak end on the hot and difficult street circuit that he has previously never won at.
Even the Dutchman thinks his car is “not as competitive” on street tracks – with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc this week named by Dr Helmut Marko as a potential challenger.
Leclerc, though, said on Thursday: “It’s nice to get praise from our opponents – it’s nice to read. But it’s not really true.
“I assume Red Bull will be the benchmark here too,” he added.
But if Leclerc’s position is polite, the same cannot be said of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff – who said after Monza that Verstappen’s new winning-streak record will only be interesting for those reading Wikipedia.
Verstappen said in Singapore that it didn’t upset him, but that it’s interesting that Wolff comments so often about Red Bull’s current dominance.
“He almost sounds like he’s an employee of our team sometimes,” said the 25-year-old. “But luckily not.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner, meanwhile, smiled that it’s definitely not true that Wolff is on the payroll.
“We haven’t spoken since 2021,” he laughed to Corriere della Sera newspaper, “so all is well.”
Verstappen, meanwhile, has barely spoken to his 2021 title nemesis Lewis Hamilton since then either – but Mercedes’ Hamilton declared recently that Max has had an easier time than him in Formula 1 due to his weaker teammates.
“It’s not nice of Hamilton towards the teammates I’ve had,” Verstappen hit back in conversation with Dutch reporters in Singapore.
“But it’s ironic that after that interview of his in Monza, many of my teammates were ahead of him in qualifying. Honestly, I respect the dominance of others including Lewis’ past titles.
“Maybe there is a little jealousy. Maybe it’s nice for Netflix. None of it really matters to me. I sleep wonderfully,” the championship leader added.
“I do my thing here, go home again after the weekend, do my thing there and then don’t have much to do with Formula 1 anymore.”