Max Verstappen backtracks on Sebastian Vettel to Red Bull verdict as Ferrari F1 exit looms

Max Verstappen has insisted he was “just trying to be polite and nice” earlier this week when he appeared to talk up the prospect of Sebastian Vettel returning to Red Bull ahead of the 2021 F1 season. The Dutchman compared the potential link up with Vettel to his previous partnership with former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted on the same ServusTV show that it would be “difficult” to re-sign Vettel when he leaves Ferrari.

Verstappen has now clarified his comments on the 33-year-old and offered his backing to current Red Bull team-mate Alex Albon.


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“I was on the TV show on Monday, I was sitting next to Seb and I got this question,” Verstappen told “I was just trying to be polite and nice by saying I could imagine it.

“I think at the moment the team is happy with both of us, and I have to say I’m really happy with Alex as a team-mate. He’s a really nice guy in the team which is good for everyone.

“He’s good with set-up, so we both give good feedback to the team, and he’s a fast guy, so I don’t think there’s any reason to change. I think Christian and [Red Bull motorsport advisor] Helmut [Marko] can back that up. It’s also not up to me at the end of the day to decide these things.”

Red Bull will be hoping for a complete change in fortunes this weekend after suffering a nightmare double retirement at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was forced to drop out after just 14 laps, with Albon’s race coming to an end later on following a collision during a battle with Lewis Hamilton for second place.

Verstappen and Albon impressed during practice for the Styrian Grand Prix on Friday, during which Horner was asked about the prospect of Vettel returning to Red Bull.


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Horner shut down the speculation, however, saying it was a “definite no” to the idea of Vettel making a comeback with the Milton Keynes-based team.

“Obviously the topic has been raised,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “We had a brilliant time with Seb and he’ll forever be a part of our history.

“We didn’t expect him to be on the market this year and our commitment is to our existing drivers, we think we’ve got a great pairing in Max and in Alex. We think that has a great potential for the future as well. Unfortunately, it’s not something that we’re going to be able to accommodate.

“That is a definite no, I’m afraid. Sebastian I think is aware of that – well, he is aware of that.”

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