Hill: Red Bull have helped Verstappen out-qualify Perez

Sam Cooper
Red Bull drivers Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen on press duties. June Montreal 2022

Damon Hill believes Red Bull have changed the RB18 which has moved it more to the preference of Max Verstappen.

Before the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had picked up just one pole position having done so at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. Not only that, but he had been out-qualified by his team-mate Sergio Perez on three occasions which is not the norm for the Dutchman.

Following the Mexican’s win in Monaco, there were suggestions that the RB18 was more suited to his style than Verstappen’s but that now seems to have flipped entirely with the reigning World Champion showing the kind of pace that won him his maiden championship.

Hill believes Red Bull must have made a change to the car that has brought it closer to Verstappen’s style of driving rather than Perez’s.

“Max has found something because he dominated that weekend [in Canada] and with no sign of Sergio looking to be threatening,” Hill said on the F1 Nation podcast.

“They’ve done something.

 

“I get the feeling they’ve done something to help him because he’s not the sort of person who would have taken being out-qualified by Sergio lying down. So I think that they’ve tried to work on giving him what he really needs.

“And it could be that they’ve helped the front end of the car. It looked like he got rid of some of that understeer, and it could do him wonders.”

Looking ahead to Silverstone, Hill poured cold water on the emerging theory that Mercedes could be back amongst the frontrunners, stating that they were “going to have to be really competitive to beat the Ferraris and the Red Bulls.”

“It’s like Barcelona in that it’s got higher average speed corners,” the 1996 World Champions said. “They’re very few slow corners at Silverstone so that’s like Barcelona, but Barcelona is relatively smooth compared to Silverstone – everyone keeps talking about it being smooth.

“And I always thought Silverstone was one of the bumpiest places. I mean it’s got jumps, it’s got a really heavy bounce so when you go through Becketts, a car is really moving up and down.

“And part of the conversation is the hope that the cars that suffer worse with the porpoising and bouncing will be better here.

“We think Mercedes is going to be more competitive here, but it’s going to have to be really competitive to beat the Ferraris and the Red Bulls.”