Hamilton’s former team principal Dennis tips Verstappen to win title

2021 F1 season

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The man who brought Lewis Hamilton into Formula 1 has tipped Max Verstappen to beat him to this year’s world championship.

Former McLaren team principal Ron Dennis believes Red Bull hold a performance edge over Mercedes. He expects Verstappen, who leads Hamilton by five points with eight races remaining, will win the championship if he avoids any significant errors.

“I have a tremendous respect for the technologists at Red Bull and I think Honda has stabilised their engine performance very well,” Dennis told Sky. “So I think it’s going to be Verstappen.

“If it’s not, it will be not because they lack performance, but because they make mistakes. And the question is in what circumstances are these mistakes going to be made? So it’s going to be a very colourful end of season, but I’d probably back Verstappen.

“That’s not for any reason that I don’t favour Lewis. Of course, he’s still a friend. I still occasionally communicate with him.”

Hamilton and Verstappen have collided twice in the past two months. Following their latest clash in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza two weeks ago Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff suggested Verstappen had committed a “tactical foul”.

Hamilton won his first title with Dennis at McLaren
Dennis believes the incidents are a result of both drivers being unwilling to cede ground to the other.

“In many sports there is, you could call it a sort of a professional foul,” he said. “In motor racing the consequences of cars touching each other is hard to predict. You don’t know whether one car is going to ride over on the other, like in the Italian Grand Prix, you don’t know if you’re going to spin off, hit an Armco [barrier] et cetera.

“But the reality is these two drivers – they’re not the only drivers in Formula 1 that I could say this about – these two drivers are absolutely professional. They know what they’re doing and they know getting into the lead early on during the race is critical. And so that’s when they really take risks.

“Sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t. And the one thing that both of them doesn’t want to show the other is that they’re going to back off, that they’re going to be intimidated. So it’s a couple of young – not so young – but a couple of young stags [fighting]. It’s as simple as that.”

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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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14 comments on “Hamilton’s former team principal Dennis tips Verstappen to win title”

  1. He makes some good points but his quote “I have a tremendous respect for the technologists at Red Bull “, did he also mean Adrian Newey? :)

    1. @redpill Most likely yes. Dennis and Newey were part of the team that won titles with Hakkinen in 1998 and 1999, so they probably still quite a lot of mutual respect for each other, even if not a proper friendship after Newey left

  2. Are you sure this is Ron Dennis talking?
    Where has the ‘convoluted responses’ we became so accustomed… gone?

  3. Fun to hear from Ron Dennis a bit again. I tend to agree that Verstappen seems more likely to win it right now.

    And it was really nice to read about his work to make simple sports less harmfull for children through better equipment to train on.

  4. I would not be so sure. Red Bull’s performance advantage is certainly not as large as it was from Monaco to Austria. Post Austria, Merc has beaten Red Bull 3-2 in qualifyings, (3-1 in dry qualifyings).

    Mistakes have been more on Mercedes’ side – Hungary, Monza should have been easy wins for Lewis.

    I agree with Ron that Max is definitely the favorite for the title. But I don’t agree with the reason. It isn’t because Red Bull has a performance advantage. It is largely because Mercedes haven’t driven home their advantage.

    Ron’s statement is probably aimed at Mclaren who dumped Honda and him both. Look how he is praising Honda as well.

    1. The only reason hamilton isn’t 40+ points behind is due to silverstone and baku.

      That is the ONLY reason

    2. Ron’s statement is probably aimed at Mclaren who dumped Honda and him both. Look how he is praising Honda as well.

      How on earth do you arrive at this?

  5. He might be right. . .the same way he was right to drop Mercedes engines for honda years back. LOL

  6. “Honda has stabilised their engine performance very well” – I’m reading that as “See! I told you so!”

  7. Does he think Silverstone and Monza were racing incidents?

  8. I wish Ron would voice his opinion more often. He has great knowledge on the sport. Good hearing from him again.

  9. Agree with everything Ron said. About time someone said something sensible for a change.

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