Max Verstappen camp believe Lewis Hamilton is rattled as title battle heats up

Jos Verstappen, father to Max, thinks the Red Bull star has got under the skin of his Mercedes rival.

Hamilton is hunting a sixth world title this year as he bids to close the gap to Michael Schumacher’s record of seven.

But Verstappen is showing all the signs he is ready to challenge for the Championship, if not this year then definitely next.

And Jos reckons there are signs Hamilton is uneasy with the new challenge presented by Verstappen.

“You can tell by the things Hamilton has been saying,” Jos Verstappen said.

“Why would he respond to rumours? He says that the Honda engine is better than Mercedes now, but I don’t think that’s the case on the straights.

“When you see what kind of races Max has been driving, I don’t think you can be surprised.”

Red Bull dominated F1 when Sebastian Vettel was in the hot seat from 2010-2013.

The German scooped four consecutive world titles but Mercedes then took over the mantle and are on course for a sixth consecutive Championship this campaign.

However, former F1 driver Stefan Johansson believes Verstappen can restore Red Bull to their former glory.

“I think this is the beginning of a new era,” Johansson said.

“As I said a year ago, Verstappen and Honda will dominate, probably for four or five years once they get it right, which they will.

“When Honda is committed they always get it right in the end, and once they do they are very hard to stop.”

The new Honda engine, which was installed this season, has Verstappen excited about what the future has in store.

“The whole preparation is so much better than in previous years,” Max said.

“There is a real collaboration and exchange of ideas between Red Bull and Honda. We try to help them, they try to help us.”

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