Ted Kravitz makes daunting Max Verstappen prediction for Australia and beyond

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen celebrates in Saudi Arabia.

Max Verstappen won his ninth consecutive race at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Ted Kravitz doesn’t hold out much hope of anyone challenging Max Verstappen this season and thinks he could increase his race-winning advantage as early as the next race in Australia.

Verstappen has started this season where he left off last year, claiming back-to-back wins with the Dutchman destroying the competition including his team-mate Sergio Perez.

Ted Kravitz warns Red Bull will still ‘stretch their legs’

Although the Mexican driver was runner-up in both races as Red Bull claimed the 1-2, he was 22 seconds down in Bahrain and 13s behind his team-mate Saudi Arabia.

It has Kravitz admitting he has “very little hope” that any of Red Bull’s rivals can challenge the team for the championship titles.

All, though, is not lost as with Perez only 2.6s ahead of Carlos Sainz and then five up on Charles Leclerc, Formula 1 could see a thrilling battle for second place in both the Grands Prix and the standings.

It’s a battle, the pit lane reporter reckons, could also include McLaren, Fernando Alonso and maybe Mercedes.

Kravitz told the Sky Sports’ podcast: “I don’t mind, two races, a 1-2, so I don’t really hold out any particular optimism that people will close up.

“They will develop, Red Bull will develop like everyone else. They have their development plans.

“This is the race one car at the moment, because there was testing and then back-to-back, so I’m expecting them to even stretch their legs in Australia and Suzuka. I think Max could win by that legendary 25 seconds or more.

“But I feel differently in a sense about any Red Bull domination and hopes or fears for a competitive season this year.

“They often say it’s the hope that kills you, and while last year I thought the second year of a new rules generation, maybe it’s going to be a bit different and Ferrari will get there. But no it isn’t, that’s a dominant car.

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“So I hold out very little hope for anyone catching Red Bull this year. And that’s fine because as long as you know that going in, then you reassess where you’re going to see the interesting fight.”

“And that fight,” he continued, “assuming Max qualifies on pole and disappears off into the distance, that fight between Checo, who seems like he’s gaining on the good weekend, can get a comfortable gap, absorb the penalties, and Charles and Oscar, Fernando had a good race.

“And while we see Mercedes drop down maybe – certainly on the evidence of Saudi, seeing those other guys coming in, and if Carlos can hopefully recover quickly for his sake for Australia, for them to fight with Perez and that position for second is something I’m happy to watch.

“But no, I don’t hold up much hope for anyone challenging Max for another championship, but I think we kind of knew that already didn’t we, going into the season.

“It’s all credit to them, they deserve what they’re going to achieve.”

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