If speculation surrounding Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton’s future is to be believed, he may not stay in the sport beyond the current season.
This will make the most coveted seat on the grid up for grabs and a number of drivers have spoken about wanting to make it their own.
Recently, McLaren boss Zak Brown had claimed that Max Verstappen and George Russell would make a “killer line-up” if Hamilton retires from the sport.
Brown was assuming that Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas would not be able to do enough to earn an extended run in the team.
While Russell has already featured in a Mercedes, deputising for Hamilton at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, prizing Verstappen away from Red Bull could be far trickier.
Red Bull has since a considerable time made it its priority to give Verstappen as much support as it can. They see a potential world champion in the young Dutchman, and few will argue that he has not shown glimpses of being able to achieve glory.
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has denied all this speculation and said that Verstappen will not leave the team anytime soon.
He pointed to the fact that his team has improved so much that it would not make sense for Verstappen to forsake all of it for a Mercedes ride.
He was quick to assert that no decision would be made against the will of Verstappen.
Marko further said that Brown is just a “big talker” and doesn’t know the details of Verstappen’s contract.
“He’s a real talker – talks funny things all day long, but has no idea what our clause is,” Marko said.
“We will not keep anyone with the team against his will. But it will be a long time before we get to work on this theme. We need a championship-winning car.
“And if we have that, Verstappen will be more than happy to stay with the team.”
Had Hamilton decided to hang up his boots at the end of the 2020 season, Verstappen may well have been tempted.
however, Red Bull has come out firing on all cylinders in the 2021 season. In fact, in terms of sheer pace, the team looks even faster than Mercedes.
The Silver Arrows have endured struggles throughout pre-season testing in Bahrain. Even in the season-opener, it was evident that they were still short of the pace compared to Red Bull. It was just the mastery of Hamilton and the slightly confusing rules that saw Hamilton win.
Incidentally, this was the first time in 5 years that Hamilton has won the opening race of a season.
With Red Bull showing such tremendous improvement, you may even argue that there is no logical reason for Verstappen to leave. He does, after all, have the complete faith of his team here. He would need to earn that if he decided to jump ship.
Do you believe Verstappen will be able to challenge for the world championship this season? Let us know in the comments section below!