Contact Us

Can Max Verstappen Power To The Championship?

At the culmination of the Hungarian Grand Prix, defending champion Lewis Hamilton found himself at the top of the standings. Can Max Verstappen Power To The Championship?

Last updated: 05.09.2019
Can Max Verstappen Power To The Championship | Sports Social Blog

With the mid-season summer hiatus firmly behind us, we can now look ahead to the second half of this year’s Formula One calendar and over the course of the next few months, the battle to be crowned Drivers’ champion will only further intensify.

At the culmination of the Hungarian Grand Prix, defending champion Lewis Hamilton found himself at the top of the standings by a margin of 62 points and although teammate Valteri Bottas can be considered his closest title challenger, Mercedes have not had it all their own way of late.

That’s because Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has recently picked up a pair of impressive wins and although his win in Austria was perhaps controversial, the same cannot be said for his success in Germany two rounds later.

On what is considered Red Bull’s home track, Verstappen got off to an awful start in the Austrian Grand Prix and found himself all the way back down in eighth place, leaving the Dutch sensation with what looked like an outside chance of a podium position.

However, roared on by a legion of fans from the Netherlands, the 21-year-old clearly had the bit between his teeth. After combining good tyre management with excellent pit strategy, he soon found himself in second behind race leader Charles Leclerc.

After hunting down the Ferrari driver, he would eventually squeeze his way past and although supporters of the ‘Prancing Horse’ felt the move to be an illegal one, it would be eventually ratified by the stewards as fair and subsequently Verstappen would earn his first win of 2019.

Fast forward to Germany and it was a race that bordered somewhere between the sublime and the ridiculous, with ever-changing weather conditions meaning multiple pit-stops and different tyre compounds.

In what was akin to last man standing, Verstappen had the composure to keep his car on the track. With all his nearest rivals either crashing out or in the case of Sebastian Vettel having to start from the back of grid, it was a case of the coolest head eventually prevailing. 

After dealing with the conditions at the Hockenheim, Verstappen picked up his second win in three races and all of a sudden, it no longer looks like there'll be an inevitable Mercedes lockout for the top two positions in the championship.

Red Bull will be confident that their main man can at least split the Silver Arrows and push Hamilton in the second half of the season. Although, if the outcome of the Hungarian Grand Prix is anything to go by, that’s not going to be easy. Hamilton’s late overtaking manoeuvre meant that it was he and not Verstappen who would go on to win at Hungaroring.

As far as the bookmakers are concerned, that might be enough for the Brit to win a sixth Drivers’ championship. If we take a look at the latest F1 odds, it seems that the few outright markets still open have the 34-year-old priced as short as 1/20 to once again rule the Formula One roost.

That said, there are still more than enough races for someone to mount a serious challenge and although Mercedes’ Valteri Bottas will be confident of doing so, especially now that he has been retained for 2020, you do get the feeling that it is Red Bull’s number 33 who will offer up the sternest test of all.

It might be that Bottas’ primary role for the end of the season, is to act as a shield for his teammate and help ward off any potential Red Bull threat. However, if the son of Jos Verstappen can penetrate this and topple Mercedes more often, we could be set for an almighty championship duel in the final few rounds of 2019.

Chase Your Sport

Stay up-to-date on the latest sports news, stats, expert analysis and trends, including cricket, football, wrestling, tennis, basketball, Formula One and more. Find previews, schedules, results of upcoming events, and fantasy tips on Chase Your Sport.