Max Verstappen RB20 success secret revealed as Ferrari rumours return – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen driving the Red Bull RB20.

As the week comes to its conclusion, it is time to bring you up to speed with the latest major F1 news headlines.

Max Verstappen has started the new season in dominant fashion, with Red Bull simulator driver Jake Dennis explaining exactly where Verstappen’s almighty pace in the RB20 is coming from, but amid the off-track tension at Red Bull which has already seen the Dutchman linked to Mercedes, now the Ferrari talk is back. Let us take a closer look at all of this and more.

Max Verstappen excelling with ‘neutral’ RB20 balance

While Red Bull were expecting rivals to close the gap for F1 2024, which Dennis argues has happened, Verstappen nonetheless has picked up where he left off with two comfortable victories in the RB20 to start the F1 2024 campaign and his pursuit of a fourth successive World Championship.

Dennis is highly experienced with the RB20 in the virtual world and says this very “neutral” challenger is allowing Verstappen and Sergio Perez to really go on the attack through a range of corners.

Read more – The secret to Max Verstappen’s RB20 success revealed by Red Bull sim driver

Could Ferrari host Max Verstappen-Lewis Hamilton dream team?

Predicting major F1 driver moves has long since been a favourite pastime around the paddock, Lewis Hamilton to Red Bull having been a popular one in 2023, though we now know Hamilton will be a Ferrari driver in 2025.

But could Verstappen sensationally join him there? Talk of a potential Red Bull exit continues to bubble, and while Hamilton and Charles Leclerc looks set as Ferrari’s 2025 line-up, Dutch F1 analyst Mike Hezemans warned “a contract says nothing in Formula 1” as the prospect was discussed.

Read more – Fresh Max Verstappen twist amid Mercedes rumours as Ferrari links resurface

Lewis Hamilton ‘wake-up call’ after getting ‘comfortable’ with Bottas

It looks like a change of scenery will serve Hamilton well considering his tough start to F1 2024, with team-mate George Russell winning the qualifying and race intra-team battle across the opening rounds in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

And 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve believes Russell has served as a “wake-up call” to Hamilton since replacing Valtteri Bottas in 2022, a driver who Villeneuve believes Hamilton got “comfortable” with.

Read more – Lewis Hamilton accused of getting ‘comfortable’ with Bottas before Russell ‘wake-up’

Lewis Hamilton assured over Ferrari ‘atmosphere’

Hamilton will though of course be hoping to exit Mercedes on a high and arrive at Ferrari knowing that he got the better of his highly-rated team-mate Russell, with a driver cut from a similar cloth in Leclerc serving as his stern next challenge.

Swapping Mercedes for the unique culture of the iconic Ferrari team is potentially a huge risk for Hamilton in the twilight stages of his F1 career, though former Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella has assured that Hamilton will feel “in the family” at Ferrari from the off.

Read more – Lewis Hamilton given assurances over Ferrari ‘atmosphere’ ahead of big F1 2025 move

Fernando Alonso plotting to replace Lewis Hamilton?

Mercedes face a huge decision when it comes to naming Hamilton’s replacement, a driver with whom they have achieved record-breaking success since his arrival in 2013.

And fresh off that Verstappen to Ferrari tease, Hezemans put forward another thought on the latest F1 ‘silly season’ that Fernando Alonso, into the final year of his Aston Martin contract and hinting that he may retire rather than sign a new contract, is trying to lure Mercedes into signing him.

Read more – Mercedes-shaped plan identified in Fernando Alonso F1 retirement hints