Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has taken a six-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in this season’s extremely close fight for the championship.
Max Verstappen maintains that if Red Bull wants to have a proper shot at winning the Driver’s championship this year, they will need to ‘Step it up.’
Verstappen secured the six-point lead over Hamilton by finishing the Turkish GP in second place behind Valterri Bottas of Mercedes, taking full advantage of the grid penalty awarded to Hamilton for an ICE change. The seven-time World Champion finished in P5 after running into some strategy issues in the penultimate laps of the race.
Bottas’ near-flawless drive in Turkey alongside his car’s pace helped him secure the win. It also gave a reality check to Red Bull that the Mercedes is much faster now, and keeping up with them will prove to be a challenge once more.
“Of course, overall, I think we have been at tracks that naturally were a bit better for Mercedes, but then this track was a bit unknown, and clearly they were ahead of us,” Verstappen said to Sky Sports.
“I do think we need to step it up a bit to be in the fight until the end of the season. Even though this season has proven to be Max’s strongest season yet, he still believes that Mercedes have had the quicker car on straights for “most of the season.”
“Overall, on a weekend where we were off the pace compared to them [Mercedes], to come away with second here, and third with Checo, as a team [it’s] a great result.”
Checo has to support Max Verstappen
While Verstappen now has the lead in a battle against Hamilton that sways like a pendulum. Mercedes has a 36 point advantage over Redbull in the Constructor’s standings. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez will be expected to perform more similarly to Turkey in the coming six races.
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) October 11, 2021
The Mexican driver stood on the podium after a gap of several races. The last time he was on the podium was in France, where it was coincidentally another double podium for Redbull.
Verstappen is going to need all the support he can get from his teammate. For that to happen, first, Perez needs to improve his qualifying results.
Too often, we see the experienced driver qualify significantly lower than his teammate and fight his way up the grid to come close to the Mercedes and his teammate.
In instances where Perez cannot punch his way up to the top positions in the race, Max is left without any backup to fight the two Mercedes. This gives the Silver Arrows the upper hand strategy-wise.
With just six more races to go, Redbull as a team would need to pull up their socks if they are to have a shot at helping them win their first Driver’s Championship since Sebastian Vettel in 2013.