Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2020

Verstappen the only likely rival to Hamilton – Webber

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In the round-up: Mark Webber says Max Verstappen is the only likely threat to Lewis Hamilton this year.

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Comment of the day

Neil considers where Renault might look for a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo:

Given a choice between no Alonso and Alonso in yet another poor car, finishing sixth on a perfect day, I’d pick no Alonso. I have no desire to see great drivers in useless machinery, and I haven’t seen any sign that Renault might be making the effort and investment necessary to become a proper, front-running works team.

Mercedes would be mad to get rid of Bottas in a period of such stability, with the car being carried over from 2020 to 2021. In that circumstance, it makes even more sense than usual to keep as much continuity as possible. And I don’t honestly see Renault being able to tempt him away from Mercedes of his own volition.

And Vettel… I think he’s fallen out of love with F1. A couple of seasons plugging away with a midfield team to end his career on a poor note doesn’t sound like the sort of thing a driver of his standing would be interested in at the best of times.

That cuts the options down to a handful of drivers suited to a midfield team. Ideally, I’d like to see Vandoorne given a shot in a team where he’d be an equal, rather than an afterthought. I still refuse to believe a driver can be that good in the lower formulae and no good in F1. But, I’d have to question whether he’d give up the apparent contractual security he has with Mercedes for a likely one-plus-options deal with Renault. The other obvious option is Hulkenberg, which would make perfect sense as he’s solid, reliable and the car has been built with a tall guy in mind, so there won’t be any of the (whether real or not) Hulkenberg height issues.

But maybe a left-field option could appeal… Kvyat. He’s quick, still young and has become a lot more reliable and ‘at home’ in F1 than he used to be, and if Red Bull decide to bring up another junior he’d be available (and probably, which should appeal to Renault, cheap). A bit of change at Haas could shake up the options, or Red Bull could decide to drop their other AlphaTauri guy, Gasly, and he might appeal to Renault even more… but my picks are Vandoorne, Hulkenberg or Kvyat.
Neil (@neilosjames)

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On this day in F1

  • 45 years ago today James Hunt caused a major upset by holding off Niki Lauda’s Ferrari to score his first victory, and Hesketh’s, at Zandvoort

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “Verstappen the only likely rival to Hamilton – Webber”

  1. I agree with COTD that drivers can re-invent themselves given the right atmosphere and opportunity. I selected Vandoorne in the poll, and would probably have Gasly as a close second. Both would be super motivated to show their worth.

    Look at how Sainz has gone in the right environment after being passed over by both Red Bull and Renault.

  2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
    22nd June 2020, 4:44

    Interesting, the same Lewis that was dismayed to be travelling to Melbourne amid the COVID-19 pandemic joins a mass gathering in London (along with a photographer it would seem).

    1. Rodrigo Henriquez
      22nd June 2020, 5:45

      You sound very unfeeling with your prior comment and judging by it you’re not a person of colour. What people like you don’t understand is how important it is to stand up and protest, it’s so important that we knowingly risk our lives for something that is bigger than ourselves. I am sure you’ve never endured racism everyday of your life have you? Unless you have then your words hold absolutely no weight. Good day.

      1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        22nd June 2020, 18:14

        But you’re not just knowingly risking your own lives, you’re risking the lives of the police officers present and their families. Can all of this not just wait until this pandemic is over?

      2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        22nd June 2020, 18:53

        Genuine question. What do you actually want from these protests, what outcome would you be happy with?

    2. And his personal trainer. Probably his bodyguards too,

    3. ColdFly (@)
      22nd June 2020, 7:10

      Maybe his dismay of being in a big crowd is shadowed by his dismay over racism, @jackisthestig.

      Unfortunately, it looks more like a staged ‘photo op’ than genuinely taking part in a demonstration.

    4. @jackisthestig Some people believe that protesting against racism is worth the additional risk of contacting coronavirus. Most people in that photo are at least wearing masks or face coverings to mitigate the risks. Taking part in a Grand Prix is primarily an economic and entertainment activity – hardly a life or death situation. So people considered it an unnecessary activity at that time, especially when mitigation measures had not been put in place.

      You can argue the pros and cons of protesting in the midst of a pandemic but comparing the protests to taking part in motorsport (or any other form of entertainment) is a false equivalence.

      1. The problem is attending the protests increases the risk to *everyone* not just the people attending the protests.

        The protest is I think a very good cause. It also increases the risk to *everybody*, and that’s the problem. So, although as you say some believe the risk is worth it, they are also putting everyone else at increased risk.

        1. Yeah this is true, and that’s why I said you can argue the pros and cons of attending protests in the current situation. You have to weigh up the importance of protesting for human rights, against the risk of contracting, and possibly passing on a potentially deadly virus. What I take issue with though is comparing a sporting event (with no mitigation measures) to protests for human rights, because I don’t think that’s a fair or reasonable comparison.

      2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        22nd June 2020, 18:45

        Whether it’s transmitted at an important protest or a not so important sporting event, the consequences of spreading this virus are the same. Anyone attending these protests or encouraging people to do so are sticking two fingers up at the healthcare workers on the front line.

        1. @jackisthestig The consequences are the same, but the justification for taking those risks are entirely different and in my view, incomparable. You’re comparing taking part in a sporting event to protesting for human rights, only one of which has the ability to save lives in the long term. Also, the risks of the events are different because if the Australian Grand Prix had gone ahead, there would have been virtually no mitigation measures in place and it could have significantly accelerated the spread early in the virus’ development. The majority of people attending the protests are wearing masks, bringing hand sanitizers etc and are generally much more aware of the virus so they are reducing the risks significantly.

          So in summary: Australian Grand Prix – High risk, low reward.
          Protests – Lower risk, high potential reward.

    5. Dismayed to travel there? Don’t recall that. Seems to me he went their early, donated 400,000 dollars, visited some of the devastated sites and was looking forward to the race. I do remember he was the first within F1 to say we shouldn’t be racing. Closely followed by everyone else in F1 that mattered. And as for being dismayed to be there, rather than get out of the region like most others, he stayed.

    6. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
      22nd June 2020, 8:12

      @jackisthestig now repeat what Charles said after binning quali in Baku last year

    7. tony mansell
      22nd June 2020, 10:42

      People like you are out of time. Change your views or keep quiet is my advice.

    8. Same old Hamilton, to be fair most people fail like that. They don’t stand by their own actions or words. At least no one wishes any harm to anyone.

  3. For those out there that seem to still not understand that NO, racism is not fine, and yes it still affects PoC in our societies – some scum put a nouse up in Buddy Wallace’s garage …
    What is the matter with these people?

    1. @bascb
      They understand, they just don’t want to accept it. Change is their biggest fear, so they reject is regardless. And trust to have some of them justify the Buddy Wallace thing. We already have one changing the narrative on a diff post as possible anit-racist movement putting the noose in his garage. You cant make this stuff up, you cant.

      1. Yes, you are probably right @lums

  4. Finally, someone else has brought up the current AlphaTauri-drivers as potential alternative options for Renault. I thought I’d remain as the only one who had thought of them at all.

    BTW, the text below the link to the Welt-article is misleading as it suggests RTL would keep on broadcasting F1 even though the article is about the opposite. Immediately seeing the word ‘ende’ I knew it was about RTL not renewing, but because of the text below, I decided to double-check through the article itself.

    1. yes, seems there is an unfortunate typo in the sub-heading for that article @keithcollantine (will NOW renew instead of will NOT renew)

  5. If Vettel does a Alonso then indeed will be Verstappen the only likely rival to Hamilton. But if he is supportive then i expect Charles also be a rival.

    1. @macleod Mate,‎Lawrence Strulovitch (Stroll) is going to invest in some “Talent” pills for his boy so Lance will clean up when this season finally kicks off.

      1. If that happens Vettel is also in a Merc ;)

  6. @keithcollantine

    There’s a typo with opposite effect:

    “RTL, which has been Germany’s free-to-air broadcaster for 30 years, will now renew its contract to air the sport after this season.”

    It has to be “not“.

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