Red Bull driver Max Verstappen thinks that Mercedes remains the team to beat in 2020, but he pins hopes on an exciting championship in this year’s curtailed season.
After making his debut in 2015, the Dutchman is set to start his sixth season at the pinnacle of motorsport. Last year, he earned his best position in the Drivers’ Championship with his third place behind Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
The pre-season testing that took place ahead of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe indicated that Mercedes is comfortably at the top of the field, but Red Bull seemed to find itself in front of Ferrari. Speaking to the German TV Channel, RTL, Max Verstappen said that he hopes he can give the reigning world champions a run for their money.
„Hopefully many victories and an exciting championship. Everyone is very close to Mercedes, so we and Ferrari too. Mercedes and Lewis have done a great job so far, but this year we want to be in the fight.”
Verstappen has spent much of his time during the coronavirus crisis at his Monaco apartment. The eight-time F1 race winner has tried different ways to keep his mental and physical condition sharp while drivers were forced to stay away from race cars.
“I was on the simulator a lot and raced there. I train more than before, but of course, I also had more time now. It's about three hours of training a day. "
Asked about Sebastian Vettel’s decision to leave Ferrari at the end of 2020, Verstappen admitted that the announcement has left him surprised.
„But in the end Seb and Ferrari probably felt that the separation was the best for everyone. I would have expected that he would be driving Ferrari for another year or two.”
Although Valtteri Bottas indicated that Mercedes does not consider signing the quadruple world champion, Verstappen thinks it is possible that Vettel joins forces with the German marque. "Why not? Of course that can happen. Vettel has achieved so much in sports, it would be a shame if he was no longer there.”