Ex-F1 racer Ralf Schumacher warned Red Bull of the value of their “Max Verstappen factor” as he tips the team to face sterner competition as F1 2023 goes on.
Red Bull and Max Verstappen have certainly picked up where they left off from last season’s dominant title double, with the team taking seven wins from seven to start F1 2023, five of those going the way of Verstappen.
Rival teams are now attempting to make their moves in an effort to reel Red Bull in, Mercedes and Ferrari having introduced B-Spec challengers at the Monaco and Spanish GPs respectively, while Aston Martin are preparing upgrades for the next round in Canada.
So far in this development war it is advantage Mercedes, who in Spain comfortably had the beating of Aston Martin and Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton finishing P2 as George Russell made it a double podium for Mercedes.
Verstappen though was 24 seconds up the road at the chequered flag, that the “Max Verstappen factor” on full show according to Schumacher, but as Red Bull slowly take to the idea of pulling off an unbeaten season, is this where Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez comes into play? This is the point raised by Schumacher.
If Verstappen is taken out of the equation, then can Perez be relied upon to pick up the scraps and ensure Red Bull claim victory regardless? He does have two wins to his name so far in F1 2023, suggesting initially that he is up to the challenge, but a nightmare Monaco GP and further poor showing in Spain showed that he is not guaranteed to be in position.
“Max Verstappen has dominated at the front, taking Red Bull to their seventh win of the season,” Schumacher wrote in his post-Spanish Grand Prix column for Sky Germany.
“At the moment it looks like they can pull off the perfect season. However, there will come times when not everything will go so smoothly, mistakes can happen to Red Bull and the other teams will get closer as the season progresses.
“We are also talking about the Max Verstappen factor.
“Sergio Perez has the same car and he didn’t get it right, especially not in this way with this consistency. Red Bull and Verstappen are doing a great job.”
After winning the Spanish GP and clinching the bonus point for fastest lap, Verstappen has now moved 53 points clear of Perez at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.