Lewis Hamilton favourite for 2018 Formula One title: Max Verstappen

In an interview ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen discussed his prospects in 2018, the favourite for the championship and his competition with Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

other sports Updated: Jul 01, 2018 13:50 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Sandip Sikdar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Lewis Hamilton,Formula One,Max Verstappen
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen during the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix weekend in Spielberg.(AFP)

With two retirements in the first four races, Max Verstappen suffered a poor start to the 2018 season, in spite of how highly he is rated as a driver in the Formula One paddock.

But the Red Bull racer has fought back , amid criticism from the media due to his crashes, to bag three podiums in the last four races.

In an interview ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, the 20-year-old Dutchman discussed his prospects this year, the favourite for the 2018 championship and his competition with teammate Daniel Ricciardo among other things.

Excerpts:

Q: Three podiums in the last four races after a couple of retirements. How would you assess 2018 so far?

A: Challenging initially but good now. I am very happy with that because I have to catch up with the others in points, plus it gives me motivation every weekend to try and get the best out of it.

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Q: Recently you were under the media scanner following the crash at Monaco; a lot of uncomfortable questions... With your growing popularity, do you think it gets difficult with the amount of media attention on you?

A: No. I have had way tougher times when I was younger. It is part of Formula 1, really. You just have to deal with it.

Q: Which of your three victories in Formula 1 is your favourite ?

A: The first one (Spain 2016). It will always be a good memory but I also think the one in Malaysia (2017), coming after a lot of retirements due to technical issues. That was an emotional one.

Q: How do you see your competition with Daniel Ricciardo, given that a driver is always looking to beat his teammate before anyone else? Plus, he has won two races this season and you none...

A: It is going well. We have the speed so I am not worried about that (on having lost points to Riccardo). We have driven away a good amount of points at the beginning of the season. I could have scored more points but in terms of raw pace and all, it is looking good.

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Q: Which races do you think will be the best opportunities for Red Bull to win this season?

A: Hungary, Singapore and Mexico -- we would have a big chance to win at those three circuits.

Q: Who do you think is the favourite for the title – Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton?

A: Hamilton. The rate of development at Mercedes is a bit better than at Ferrari . Both of them are very good drivers so if they have best material each, they can both win the championship. It is up to the team from now on who will develop the fastest.

First Published: Jul 01, 2018 08:51 IST