Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber has claimed his former side could drop Max Verstappen in the Dutchman’s bid for his first Formula 1 title.
Verstappen’s second place finish at the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend saw the 24-year-old regain the championship lead from Lewis Hamilton, who is now behind his rival by six points with six races to go this season.
But Australia’s Webber, whose nine F1 wins have all come during his time at Red Bull, is uncertain whether the team will be able to take Verstappen to the end in the title race.
Following the Turkish GP, where seven-time champion Hamilton placed fifth as his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas claimed his first win of the season, Webber spoke to the F1 Nation podcast.
“Valtteri drove a very good price up front,” said the retired driver. “I think my little worries are at the bottom of everything: is Red Bull giving Max the car to close this championship?
“I would have lost a lot of money for Valtteri to have the measure of Max in these [rainy] conditions.
“I thought Verstappen would pass rings around him all day, but he couldn’t react to Valtteri’s speed.
“So that was interesting just in terms of performance – in dry and wet conditions – and I think Red Bull knows they have to react to the Merc pace now.
“I think right now you should think the Merc has the edge.
“Remember that Valtteri stormed pole at Monza but had the [engine] penalty, so he could have done what he did in Turkey and disappeared in this race without penalty.
“So I think they are just starting to have a little more spring in their approach at this crucial point in the championship.”
Next up is the United States Grand Prix in Austin, TX on October 24.