‘Imagine every team at one race having to swap their lead driver for someone else’s…’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc: Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc: Amongst highest paid drivers

Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc: Amongst highest paid drivers

Imagine if you will that for one race this season Red Bull had to put another team’s driver in the RB19 alongside Max Verstappen, could Lewis Hamilton or Charles Leclerc beat him?

Former Ferrari and Williams team manager Peter Windsor says a resounding no the drivers would fail, but like the rest of us, he’d be keen to see the gap.

This year’s championship has seen Verstappen emerge as the one to beat, the Red Bull driver head and shoulders, and also arms and ankles if we’re honest, ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez.

‘Lewis and Charles wouldn’t beat Max in a Red Bull’

With 10 wins in 12 races, he’s on course to break his 2022 record for the most wins in one season, 15, he’s also well on his way to a third World title and with the biggest winning margin ever, and with eight wins on the trot he is one away from equalling Sebastian Vettel’s record for most consecutive wins set back in 2013.

It does, however, at least from the outside, seem as if Verstappen has little, or perhaps best to say sporadic, competition from within Red Bull which raises the question of what would the situation be if other drivers, namely Lewis Hamilton or Charles Leclerc, stepped in the Red Bull for a weekend?

That was put to F1 pundit Windsor, who replied: “I mean a lot we fantasise about how Max would go in a Mercedes, how Lewis would go in a Red Bull, how Charles would go in a Red Bull.

“And, of course, the good guys, Lewis, Charles, should be very very good in a Red Bull out of the box but they wouldn’t beat Max in a Red Bull I don’t believe.

“Because Max is super confident in a way that we very rarely see in any era of Formula One, he’s in complete harmony with his engineering team led by Adrian Newey, and barely has to speak in order for them to know exactly what he’s on about.

“He’s stretching the limits of human perfection in, I think, he isn’t perfection because no human being will ever be able to drive the perfect lap and the perfect race, but he’s getting nearer to that probably than any other driver in the history of the sport because he hasn’t got any other stuff to clutter his approach. He’s got an incredible engineer, an incredible car, and he’s making the best. That is the thing.”

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But musing over which battle he’d most like to see, Verstappen v Hamilton or Verstappen v Leclerc, Windsor is keen to see what Ferrari driver Leclerc could in a Red Bull.

“So yeah, it would be fun to see all these drivers swapping around but what would be the most interesting?” he added.

“It would be interesting to see Charles Leclerc in a Red Bull, would be cool, just to see how good he is. I think that would be a nice, nice thing.”

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