Verstappen gives up on title chances; Hamilton to ‘sleep off’ German debacle - GulfToday

Verstappen gives up on title chances; Hamilton to ‘sleep off’ German debacle


Red Bull’s Max Verstappen competes during the German Formula One Grand Prix at Hockenheim on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

Hockenheim: Max Verstappen wrote off his own chances of a driver’s championship win on Monday despite his second victory for Red Bull in three races in the tumultuous German Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old Dutchman said, despite a nightmare weekend, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, who is 63 points ahead of him, remained favourites to take both the constructors’ and the drivers’ titles again.

“Close the gap?” he said.

“I don’t know. They are so (many) miles ahead in the championship. It’s still a lot, isn’t it? It’s more than two victories and they are still the dominant team.”

Hamilton’s gift-wrapped two points for being promoted to ninth after time penalties for the Alfa Romeos lifted him 41 points clear of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the drivers’ championship with Verstappen third, a further 22 adrift, at the half way point in the 21-race season.

“We managed to do a good job in this race, but we still have to work very hard to close that gap and actually to fight, really, for the victory at every race. So, there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Red Bull proved on Sunday they are ready for the scrap with a dazzling display of pit-stop skill and speed, including one - of five for Verstappen - that was the fastest ever in Formula One.

Red Bull had set a record at the British Grand Prix when they pitted Pierre Gasly in 1.90 seconds, replacing all four wheels in that time.

In Hockenheim they exceeded that by servicing Verstappen in 1.88 seconds.

Such speed has boosted the team’s confidence and given them a sense of momentum in their pursuit of Mercedes and Ferrari.

But it was not the only record-breaking feat in an extraordinary and chaotic race. Robert Kubica, who was elevated to 10th following the Alfa Romeos’ penalties, scored his first point in F1 for eight years since the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was also the Williams team’s first point of the season.

Meanwhile, Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton is planning to get plenty of rest over the next few days as he seeks to shake off the sickness that laid him low in Sunday’s German Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver, who has little time to recover before the next race in Hungary this weekend, left no doubt that Hockenheim had been an ordeal.

“(I) never felt this sick and this has been the hardest race weekend of my life,” the Briton said in a social media post after a chaotic grand prix.

“I’ve cancelled everything I have for the next few days so I’m going home probably just to sleep the next few days and try and get over this bug,” the jet-setting champion told reporters on Sunday evening.


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