Webber envisions early title win for Verstappen

Henry Valantine
Mark Webber with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Bahrain March 2021.

Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber speaks to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Bahrain March 2021.

Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber feels the combination of Max Verstappen and his old team could wrap up this year’s World Championship with races to spare.

Verstappen has been in imperious form of late, winning five of the past six races and opening up a 46-point advantage at the top of the Drivers’ standings while the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc has toiled.

Given the performance advantage Red Bull and Ferrari have, and the versatility Verstappen has as a driver, the Australian thinks it’s a combination that could see him canter to a second title.

“Red Bull will continue to dominate this championship,” Webber said at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, quoted by The Guardian. “They have a car that is very good on downforce levels, on all compounds of tyre.

“It’s like a tennis player on all surfaces or a golfer on all holes, short, long, chipping, putting, driving, the Red Bull can do everything.

“Red Bull have pretty much an answer for anything at the moment, Max could wrap it up with three races to go.”

Sergio Perez is currently Verstappen’s closest challenger in the title race at the moment, albeit almost two race victories worth of points behind, and Webber added that the Dutchman has enough in his armoury to just ease away from his Red Bull team-mate.

“I like Sergio a lot but, over the course of the season, over time, Max will just find a way to start accumulating bigger points,” he said.

“In Azerbaijan, Max drove away down the road, it was a very emphatic victory. Then in Canada, it’s raining, it’s dry, it’s cold, it’s tricky and Max all weekend was phenomenal.”

Red Bull showed their mettle and reactive qualities in Monaco in particular, with race strategist Hanna Schmitz leading the call to pit Verstappen and Perez at the right time in drying conditions, which allowed both drivers to leapfrog a Ferrari each – putting Perez into the lead and Verstappen ahead of Leclerc.

With that, Webber believes there is freedom in how they approach racing, and how they can turn their hand to different situations.

“I know deep down they like the heat, delivering under pressure,” he explained.

“Strategically they are brave, they are quite free, even with the trophy cabinet they have, they don’t have paralysis by analysis. Give them a job and they just get on with it.

“Hanna Schmitz, the race strategist, she was there when I was there. The same people have been through the tough times and the great times, that’s something I really admire.”


Max Verstappen is looking unstoppable

The World Champion Max Verstappen looks well on course to retain his crown.