Nico Rosberg Undermines 2x Champion Max Verstappen From Recreating Sensational Belgian GP Win in Jeddah
Max Verstappen was forced to retire early in Q2 of the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP’s Qualifying session. His RB19 suffered a driveshaft failure after going over one of the kerbs in the Jeddah Corniche circuit.
Max will be starting from P15 on Sunday’s main race. But there are still some hopes that the Dutchman can defy his critics and win the race with ease, considering his indomitable form and Red Bull’s superior pace advantage.
The 2-time World Champion has previously won after starting from 14th on the grid. This was in last year’s Belgian GP where the Dutchman secured pole position but was required to start the race from the back after using a new power unit and gearbox.
Max will start way back in 15th after this issue in qualifying ⚠️
Where will he finish on Sunday?#SaudiArabianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/JzVCHFsKvX
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 18, 2023
While the Street circuit in Jeddah is unlike the rolling hills of Spa, anything is possible. And the possibility of Max repeating this feat has divided opinions.
Nico Rosberg claims only luck can help Max Verstappen win
Max Verstappen admits that it will be tricky and tough to win the race. But the 2x World Champion claims anything can be possible in the highspeed street circuit.
While Mercedes Driver George Russell believes otherwise. The Briton suggests Max is no stranger to such a situation and can easily make his way through the grid considering Red Bull’s speed advantage.
Russell said, “I think Max can win pretty comfortably unless there are any incidents or holdups. You saw what he did in Spa last year. And he’s got a faster race car this year.”
🗣 “We’ll try to minimise the damage”
Max is down, but not out, after a qualifying issue put him P15 on Sunday’s grid#SaudiArabianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/TglO22NDr9
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 18, 2023
Despite the fact that the Dutchman has won after starting 14th, Nico Rosberg is pessimistic about him winning the race. The 2016 champion claims, “Max is a brilliant driver, but 15th is a bit too much.”
“However with a safety car, it could be very exciting,” he added. The Jeddah track is prone to collisions due to the presence of barriers and the highspeed nature of the track. Hence definitely, a good strategy and a favourable safety car call would be beneficial if Red Bull plays their cards right.
Horner hypes up Verstappen ahead of the race
Christian Horner had a bit to celebrate as Sergio Perez secured the pole position. But the Red Bull Team Principal does not write off Max Verstappen from making progress on Sunday.
Horner does not find a resemblance between Spa-Francorchamps and Jeddah, hence he did not quote the Dutchman to win the race. But he claimed, “If anyone can do it, it’s Max Verstappen!”
Horner added, “The track is very different from Belgium. Still, we have a very fast race car, if we survive the early laps, and have a good strategy anything is possible.”
Is it finally time for # 3⃣3⃣ ?#F1 #SaudiArabianGP pic.twitter.com/99asoRvVgg
— F1 StatsGuru (@f1statsguru) March 18, 2023
Former World Champion Damon Hill too joined in saying, “Max has the car to do it if it is reliable. He has the speed to beat the grid. But he needs to stay out of trouble as he is in a vulnerable position.”
Fernando Alonso is the only driver to have won a race after starting 15th during the 2008 Singapore GP. And the Spaniard starts in a favourable position, 2nd in the grid, following Charles Leclerc’s grid penalty.