Mark Webber is worried Red Bull won’t be able to provide Max Verstappen with a good enough car to win the title in the final rounds of 2021.
Heading into the closing stages of the season, the Dutchman currently leads Lewis Hamilton by just six points at the top of the standings.
Which of them has had the stronger car has changed throughout the year, but the Mercedes has started to look stronger in recent times with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas winning the past two races.
Given how good the German team looked last time out at Istanbul Park, Webber is worried his former team won’t be able to give Verstappen strong enough machinery.
“I think that my little concerns off the back of [the race in Turkey] are: are Red Bull giving Max the car closing this championship out?” the Aussie told the F1 Nation podcast.
“Because I think that I would have lost a lot of money for Valtteri to have the measure of Max in those conditions. I thought Verstappen would run rings around him all day long, but he couldn’t react to the speed of Valtteri.
“It was interesting. I think in terms of performance [in both the] dry and wet, Red Bull know they need to react to the Mercedes’ pace now, with these new engines that Mercedes have put in the back of the car, or some aero, or whatever’s going on.
“Max is really hanging in there. OK, he had a shunt in Monza, but I think [in] Russia he drove brilliantly, obviously, and that’s all he could get out of the car in Turkey as well.”
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) October 11, 2021
The Turkish Grand Prix wasn’t the only recent race in which Mercedes impressed Webber either.
He also feels they were extremely strong in Monza, where Bottas topped traditional qualifying and the sprint race before finishing the main event in P4 after starting at the back.
“Well I think right now, you’d have to think the Merc has the advantage, I think, from the tracks they’ve just been to,” he added.
“Don’t forget, Valtteri stormed to pole in Monza, [but] he would have that penalty, so he could have done what he did in Turkey as well: disappeared at that race, without the penalty.
“So I think they’re just starting to get a bit more of a spring in their step at a crucial part in the championship.”