Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
Event finished
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
FP1 in
2 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
FP1 in
16 days
09 May
Next event in
22 days
23 May
Race in
40 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
53 days
13 Jun
Race in
61 days
27 Jun
Race in
75 days
04 Jul
Next event in
78 days
18 Jul
Race in
96 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
110 days
29 Aug
Race in
138 days
05 Sep
Race in
145 days
26 Sep
Race in
165 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
169 days
10 Oct
Race in
179 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
194 days
31 Oct
Race in
201 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
221 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
243 days

Verstappen doesn't see himself as 2021 F1 title favourite

Max Verstappen still believes Mercedes is the favourite heading into the new Formula 1 season, downplaying his rivals’ struggles through testing in Bahrain last week.

Verstappen led Red Bull to the top of the timesheets as the team enjoyed a smooth three days of running in Bahrain with the updated RB16B.

Contrasting Red Bull’s strong showing was defending champion team Mercedes, as both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas reported issues with the rear end of the W12, causing instability on-track.

Mercedes says it is yet to fully understand what was causing its car to have such a weak rear end, and has talked up Red Bull’s showing, making Verstappen appear like a tentative favourite for next week’s season-opener in Bahrain.

But Verstappen does not believe Mercedes has lost its favourite tag, saying the data Red Bull had from the test showed there was still plenty of pace to come from the black cars.

“You can see on the data, of course, what they are doing,” Verstappen said in an interview on Ziggo Sport.

“They did their fastest lap with less power, and then two laps taking it easy. And then the next lap with half a second more power from the engine. So they are fast, no doubt.

“But now that things have been a little bit more difficult in the beginning, of course they try to push us into the favourites role. And then when they are up there again, it's all genius.

“They did the same last year at some of the races. On Friday they said: 'Yes, Red Bull looks very strong'.

"But deep down I knew that wasn't the case. And then on Saturday, they’re there again and it's like: 'Oh, wonderful!’

“I don't see myself as the favourite at all. If you have been so dominant in the last seven years and you have such a dominant car, even if you have the worst floor under your car, you are still good.

“So I still see Mercedes as the favourite.”

Read Also:

Asked if he was applying the exact same strategy by naming Mercedes as favourite, Verstappen replied: “But it is also normal that they’re the favourites, isn't it?

“For seven years in a row they’ve won everything. So I don't see myself as the favourite at all.

“But I am happy with what we did during testing and I am happy with the balance of the car. Whether it is good enough? No idea. We'll see in Q3.”

Red Bull enters the 2021 season looking to fight for its first F1 title since 2013, when it last won the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

The team has changed its line-up for the fourth year in a row as Sergio Perez joins Verstappen, bringing greater experience to the squad after it dropped Alexander Albon.

shares
comments

Related video

Vettel: Pride not important in pink helmet switch

Previous article

Vettel: Pride not important in pink helmet switch

Next article

The logic underpinning Stroll’s Aston F1 ambition

The logic underpinning Stroll’s Aston F1 ambition
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Max Verstappen
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Luke Smith
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Prime

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Prime

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle.

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb Prime

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen's emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber teammate's own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here's how Nick Heidfeld's career was chilled by the Iceman.

Formula 1
Apr 3, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Prime

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021