Raging ‘Bull’ Max Verstappen is confident about knocking the six-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton off his perch in 2020 and end Mercedes domination.
Verstappen – the youngest-ever winner of a Grand Prix – clinched three races and his first pole position this season and is hungry for his maiden title. The 22-year-old Dutchman said the Red Bull are ‘close’ to having a car to clinch the championship.
“Yes, I think we do looking at the plans for next year. We will see what others come up with. But, of course, we want to fight for the title. We are going to give everything we have to be competitive from the start of next year,” Verstappen said on the opening day press conference of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit. “We all are all here to win. We are all here to fight for the title.”
He understands the field is filled with title contenders but Verstappen remains unperturbed.
“It happens or it doesn’t. It’s 50-50. You just try to do the best you can personally. You also need bit of luck. You need the right car at the right time. You need a dominant team as well for few years in a row.”
Verstappen noted the partnership with engine supplier Honda has been very fruitful and there were crucial lessons learnt.
“It’s been very promising and I think we also had some good results. For me what was more important was reliability and that has been very strong throughout the whole year. And also the progression we made with the engine itself. All that has been going really well but we always want more.
“We will never be satisfied with what we have gained. It’s set good base for next year as well. We learnt a lot throughout the whole year. And we feel confident that we can have a positive start to the next season.”
Now, the Red Bull ace is in third place – 11 points clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. And after winning the Brazil Grand Prix, he said the team are in ‘good spirits’ for one final go in Abu Dhabi.
“We move from a flowing track like Interlagos to a tight and twisty circuit at Yas Marina where the car needs to be set up in a completely different way to Brazil in order to get the best out of it. This is always a challenge in Abu Dhabi as we transition between day and night practice sessions with FP2 the most important session as it gives you the most representative read of qualifying and race conditions.”
Verstappen conceded that Mercedes hold the fastest car on the grid in Abu Dhabi but the contest remains tight.
“We will see how the weekend will progress. In the last few races the top three teams have been really close to each other. I hope it’s going to be the same again here.”
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