Max Verstappen dominance ‘not good for the sport’ but ‘blame the rest’

Thomas Maher
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, victorious. Bahrain, March 2023.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, celebrates his victory. Bahrain, March 2023.

Max Verstappen is ‘blameless’ for his current dominance of F1, with one of his countrymen hopeful the other teams can catch up soon.

Verstappen has won two of the the first three races of the 2023 F1 season, with a second place in the other race, meaning that it’s the reigning World Champion who has assumed an early lead in the Drivers’ Championship.

With teammate Sergio Perez second in the standings, it’s a Red Bull 1-2 with the Milton Keynes-based team clearly out in front in the Constructors’ table. The closest driver from another team is Fernando Alonso – the Aston Martin driver being some 24 points behind Verstappen after the first trio of events.

It’s been a truly dominant start to the season for Red Bull and Verstappen, leading calls from the Mercedes camp that Red Bull’s dominance is such that they are actually disguising their outright pace in order to try heading off any possible intervention in the ruleset.

Kees van de Grint: Blame the other teams

Former Bridgestone tyre competition head Kees van de Grint said that the dominance of his compatriot is not a good look for F1, but the blame for repetitive results should lie at the feet of the teams struggling to match Red Bull in the second year of the new regulations.

“It is, of course, monotonous, I did not expect otherwise, but Max Verstappen is the big winner,” Van de Grint told the Dutch subsidiary of Motorsport.com.

“His dominance is actually not good for the sport, but you can’t blame him, you have to blame the rest of it.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Why Carlos Sainz has no need to be angry about Audi F1 rumours

Magazine editor fired over ‘tasteless’ Michael Schumacher AI ‘interview’

Lewis Hamilton makes it clear just how far Mercedes are behind Red Bull

Having told the same publication during an interview last year that he hoped Verstappen’s competition would be closer in 2023 because of him being “too fast and too good”, Van de Grint said he would prefer to see closer racing throughout the field – even if that meant Dutch glory wasn’t guaranteed.

“[My statements] still stand,” he said.

“And, unfortunately, they have become true. I give it to Verstappen to win all the races, but I am also a fan of the sport and would prefer to see some battle, not that we already know that halfway through the season that he is the World Champion. What I give him, that’s not the point, but we also just want to see motorsport. I would have hoped differently, but as it looks now… He also gets better, helped by the good car he has. What I have said still says: he has no resistance.”

Kees van de Grint: Max Verstappen has become more dangerous with more patience

Even worse for competition, says Van de Grint, is the fact that Verstappen is still improving as a racing driver – making life even more difficult for the pursuing teams.

“He is so relaxed and going very fast,” he said.

“The peace that comes from it, which makes him think if things go wrong: ‘I’ll get there’. His overtaking race [in Saudi Arabia] was also something.

“Normally he might be a bit more rushed, but now he just thought: ‘I’ll get there, we still have so many laps to go so we can do it.’ Of course, we also knew that with this car, especially with the DRS system, he can overtake very easily.”