Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen said that six-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is ‘good but not God’ at a Red Bull media event this week.
Max Verstappen came home in third place in the F1 driver standings last season, with the Dutch driver only behind Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
The Milton Keynes-based Red Bull team were in a year of transition after switching to new power-unit provider Honda, and Verstappen feels the team are now ready for a real title challenge.
“Lewis is very good,” Verstappen told reporters at Red Bull’s media event at Kitzbuhel this week.
“He is definitely one of the best out there, but he’s not God. Maybe God is with him, but he is not God. We really want to mount a challenge to especially Mercedes and I think we can do that.”
“I’m very much looking forward to it, everybody’s fired up and everybody’s very motivated. Coming off last year, at the end, we were very competitive.”
The 22-year-old signed a new deal with Red Bull during the winter break that should keep him at the team until the end of the 2023 season.
With Hamilton now 35 and his future at Mercedes in some doubt as his, team boss Toto Wolff’s and even Mercedes’ own commercial contract coming to an end in 2020, Verstappen had been linked with a move away from Red Bull but now appears very focused on getting the best out of his RB16 in 2020.
Team principal Christian Horner was also at the event and he praised Honda for the development work they have put in since partnering with the team.
“Honda did such a great job, each introduction of an engine last year brought more performance and more power and it feels we’re getting very, very close now to Mercedes,” he said..
“That therefore puts the emphasis on the chassis side of the team… going into this year we feel better prepared, earlier, than we have certainly in the last five years.”