‘Hamilton had bad luck, Max wasn’t in the mood either’

Date published: October 12 2021 - Michelle Foster

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in white at the press conference. Turkey October 2021

Neither title rival put their best foot forward in Turkey with Christijan Albers saying Lewis Hamilton “didn’t drive well” and Max Verstappen was “nervous”.

This year’s results log saw a new name up in P1 at the Istanbul Park as Valtteri Bottas raced from pole position to the chequered flag.

It was the Mercedes driver’s first victory of this season, and an easy one at that as Verstappen, runner-up on the day, wasn’t able to challenge for the lead.

Red Bull were woefully off Mercedes’ pace in Turkey where it is fair to say that only Hamilton’s grid penalty for an new ICE prevented a Mercedes 1-2.

But while Albers feels Verstappen was “nervous” in his Red Bull, he wasn’t overly impressed with Hamilton’s recovery drive.

“Now if you go and look at the trend of the last races, for me Lewis Hamilton didn’t drive well this weekend,” he told De Telegraaf, adding that “he had bad luck everywhere he ended up”.

“Max wasn’t really in his mood either. He’s been messing around as well.

“In the interviews he was relaxed, but you could already see, that wasn’t the Max Verstappen who was fighting Bottas.

Max Verstappen takes off his helmet. Turkey October 2021.

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“They saw from the beginning, this is a no-go.

“They only tried to limit the damage, but if you see how nervous he was with the car in Turkey, it was just almost impossible to drive.”

Verstappen left Istanbul Park once again P1 in the Drivers’ Championship, the Dutchman six points up on Hamilton.

In a title fight that is predicted to continue through to the very last lap of the season, former F1 driver Albers has urged Red Bull to focus entirely on this year’s championship and not worry about 2022.

Unsure of what will happen in 2022 with the all-new cars, he feels now is the time for Red Bull to win a title while they can.

The same, he says, can be said of Mercedes and Hamilton’s bid for a record-breaking eighth World title.

“Now is the opportunity for Red Bull to make Max Verstappen a World Champion,” he said. “You just have to pull out all the stops, not worrying about next year’s car at all.

“You can’t say for sure that you will have a good car next year.

“The same goes for Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton can become World Champion for the eighth time. I think they are both secretly going full throttle with updates anyway.”

 

Looking ahead to the next race, the United States Grand Prix, Albers says momentum will likely swing in Hamilton’s favour but could be back with Verstappen a race later at the Mexican Grand Prix.

He added: “You get Austin first of course, which is really a Mercedes circuit. Then you get Mexico, which is of course a Verstappen track. He can make the difference there.

“Even though the car is a bit slower, he makes the difference in that last sector. You do notice that the Mercedes now has a better standard set-up step by step, not in terms of updates.”