Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey believes Max Verstappen will not let recent disappointments affect him in the title fight against Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen had a 33-point lead that turned into an eight-point deficit behind the main rival after the last two races of the first part of the championship: Silverstone and Hungary.
The Dutchman took part in the first incident at the UK Grand Prix with Hamilton - for which the Briton received a 10-second penalty - while Valtteri Bottas then made chaos in the first corner of the Hungaroring, from which the Red Bull driver emerged with major car damage.
Speaking in an interview posted on Red Bull’s official website, Newey says Verstappen has a steely fighting spirit to show after all the adversity he’s had, and the first proof follows already at the Belgian Grand Prix later this month.
“He has the same steely fighting spirit as any world champion, the things they need to dig up and continue to face adversity,” Newey said. “He can leave the past behind and look forward to the next race.
His driving skills are obviously excellent, and he has matured into an excellent rider. He really didn't make a mistake this year. " "Races in which he did not achieve great results - Baku, Silverstone, and Hungary were not his fault: but he held his head firmly - the pressure of the situation will not affect him," he added.
“He is very easy to talk to, and he has a wide number of interests, which I think is very important for an F1 driver. If your only interest is F1, that becomes very important when it comes to pressure. Max has a very good balance in that regard.
Newey believes Red Bull has already shown they have everything it takes to break Mercedes ’dominance. “We need to have top-notch performance in all areas of business in order to try to bring down the seven-time champions, which I believe we have succeeded in,” Red Bull’s technical director believes.
"Things looked really good, especially after the Austrian Grand Prix, and we had a decent points advantage in two championships: two races later we lag behind in both, which is embarrassing when it's not our fault."
“That is the nature and competitiveness of the sport in which we play. We have to keep our heads down and keep pushing, ”Newey concluded. Indeed, Verstappen will have to be focused and ready by the end of the season if he wants to finally dethrone Mercedes.