Hamilton: Verstappen is ‘on his own’ at Red Bull

Mark Scott
Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen PA

Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen PA

Lewis Hamilton has indirectly questioned Alex Albon’s support role at Red Bull, saying Max Verstappen is “there on his own” trying to fight Mercedes.

The Belgian Grand Prix had a familiar look to it with Verstappen trying his best to take the fight to the Mercedes duo but ultimately having to settle for minor honours.

Further down the road is Verstappen’s team-mate, Albon, who is fighting other battles down the pecking order which is leaving Red Bull and Verstappen a little hamstrung when it comes to race strategy and the overall title picture.

As Hamilton and Mercedes move further clear in the respective World Championships, the six-time World Champion says the lack of two drivers pushing the Silver Arrows is a problem.

“What you have got to look at with the Red Bulls is that they do have a very good car,” Hamilton told Sky F1.

“People downplay it but they have got a very strong car and Max is doing a great job with it.

“Unfortunately both drivers aren’t there like me and Valtteri [Bottas] are there.

“That makes it harder for them. I’ve experienced that myself many years ago when I was at McLaren and I was the driver always at the front.

“I didn’t have the team-mate backing up so you equally don’t get the constructors’ points but then you also can’t play strategy on the cars you are racing again.

“So Red Bull have that and Max is sort of there on his own.

“Of course I really really want to have more of a fight, but that’s not on me and I’ve just got to keep on what I’m doing.”

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Hamilton also said the Pirelli tyres are not helping the spectacle as they contributing to a regular race dynamic of race start > manage tyres > race finish.

“Today was really [about] tyres,” he added.

“Everyone doing this one stop thing is really boring. At the end of the day we are all managing out there, which is not racing.

“At the end we are backing off, maybe it would have been fine but it was too big a risk today.”

Albon, meanwhile, who finished P6 behind the Renault duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, thinks the swap to medium tyres in the race maybe hindered his progress.

“Maybe the mediums wasn’t the right choice,” Albon told Sky F1.

“I don’t know to be honest. I think I was feeling pretty good on the soft. Obviously, like we said before the start of the race, the Renault’s would be hard to overtake.

“I think with DRS, you are just staying the same as them so it was pretty tricky to do anything.

“We pitted for mediums, it was okay but again, just tried to do overtakes and had to push as much as I could through sector two to stay close enough to get the run down to turn five.

“It was frustrating, I think the tyres just dropped off.

“It was our decision. Obviously, we didn’t expect as much deg as we got.”

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