Mexico City: Max Verstappen is ready to upset Lewis Hamilton’s title party by claiming victory for Red Bull at this weekend’s high altitude Mexican Grand Prix.
The young Dutchman told reporters on Thursday that he believes the race gives his team their best chance of scoring another victory before the end of the season.
“We may not have a great chance in qualifying, but we are working well in the race so I expect this will be better for us than Austin.
“Lewis will want to win but I don’t think that will change anything…”
If Verstappen wins, Hamilton will automatically be champion, but he would like to be crowned ideally by winning in Mexico.
“I think our car is very good mechanically and aerodynamically anyway, although of course that is less of a factor so I think that’s why we are normally more competitive on this track than others, even though there is a super long straight. I think that explains a lot.”
Hamilton needs to outscore Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari by five points to clinch his fifth world title and draw level with Juan Manuel Fangio in the record books, leaving only seven-time champion Michael Schumacher with more titles ahead of him.
Hamilton clinched his fourth title in Mexico last year after being lapped by Verstappen and finishing ninth.
Verstappen meanwhile proved he is as tough-talking off the track as he is robustly aggressive on it when he said Formula One’s “stupid” penalty points system should be “thrown in the bin”.
The outspoken young Dutchman hit out when he reacted to questions about the system for controlling drivers’ misdemeanours.
“If they think it happens too much, then you just go and suspend him for a race, right?
“You don’t need these stupid penalty points for that, do you? If you commit a very minor offence every time, it can eventually total up to 12 points.
“Then I don’t think it’s right…”
Asked what he would do with the current system that was introduced in 2014 to punish repeat offenders, he said: “Throw it in the bin.”
Drivers face an automatic ban if they collect 12 points on their racing licence. Verstappen, an attacking driver, is currently on seven while the erratic Romain Grosjean of Haas is on 10. Points expire after 12 months.
“I don’t think there have been many drivers in the history of Formula One who have deserved a race suspension at some point,” Verstappen told Autosport (www.autosport.com).
“If you cause a huge start crash, then that’s a different story, but if you get so many points because of all of these smaller things, I find it scandalous.” — AFP