Former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg says Max Verstappen is the ‘absolute favorite’ to win the title in 2021, but that Red Bull driver’s favorite status brings a lot of pressure and that avoiding mistakes is imperative.
Rosberg believes that Red Bull cars are better in every segment and that together with Verstappen's phenomenal talent, they have finally set the 23-year-old as a direct favorite, while Hamilton takes on the role of challenger.
However, Rosberg points out that to win the title at the end of the season, Verstappen must not have a tolerance for mistakes. "Last year Verstappen had a car with which he could occasionally win, this year he is the favorite and that changes a lot.
Now the pressure is 10 times higher. Everything has changed because now they have a good car, you can't go wrong anymore. ” “You also have to think long term and take points every time because he is the absolute favorite.
Because of that role, you now get a battle with Hamilton both on and off the track, and that’s incredibly nice to follow." "Since Max is now the favorite, every time Hamilton is ahead of him in the championship, it means that Max has done something bad and the pressure is on him.
Rosberg says that the fierce fight between the two drivers at the start of the Emilia Romagna GP, where Verstappen made a strong breakthrough next to the Mercedes driver in the first corner, left its mark on Hamilton.
“Verstappen very brutally pushed Hamilton aside during the race in Imola and that is a moment that Lewis will remember throughout the season." "He didn’t say anything on the radio, but, trust me, Lewis remembered that moment because it was a brutal move by Verstappen, so it’s a sign to Hamilton that he knows a tough battle is being fought.
It's nice for the fans, of course, to see this fight. " And indeed most will agree with Rosberg. Verstappen has a good chance of finally removing Hamilton from the throne, who has managed to dominate Formula 1 for a long time.
Inexperience could be a crucial factor in the race between the two, given that Verstappen is young and needs more time. Still, we still don’t know Verstappen’s mentality, so he could make a surprise and win the coveted first place. The mentality will certainly be a decisive factor, and Hamilton has a great advantage in that field