Oct.31 (GMM) Max Verstappen’s father is not sure the 18-year-old can keep up with the front of the pack throughout the Mexican grand prix weekend.
Max, currently linked with future deals at Mercedes or Ferrari, stunned the paddock by leading first practice on Friday in his Toro Rosso, before crashing out of the second.
It came hot on the heels of almost securing his debut podium a week ago in Austin, which his father Jos said was “incredible for someone who’s just turned 18”.
But Verstappen, himself a former F1 driver, doubts his son can go one better this weekend in Mexico.
“It would be a miracle for Max to finish high in the points here,” Jos told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
“The circuit just doesn’t suit the (Renault powered) car, but it will really suit the Mercedes.”
He is referring to the ultra-fast nature of the renovated Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez layout, with the altitude and long straight churning out top speeds faster even than Monza.
But the 360kph reached by the powerful Mercedes on Friday was in stark contrast to McLaren-Honda, who are set to struggle with energy recovery systems that run out of juice long before the end of the straight.
Marca, a Spanish daily, quoted Alonso as saying Mexico is a “disaster” for Honda, who would need “500 laps” to properly charge the battery.
“On the straight, we don’t move the steering wheel but we lose seven tenths,” he said.
According to Jos Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton “obviously deserves” the 2015 title, but he pointed a finger at the vastly spread technical competencies up and down pitlane.
“The sobering thought is that the fight might have been really special if his (Hamilton’s) car wasn’t quite so good. The only person he had to beat was his teammate,” the Dutchman added.