Max Verstappen says he wants to see Fernando Alonso to convert his strong form into a race win this season.
Alonso returned to Formula 1 after two years out back in 2021 with Alpine, but it’s his move to Aston Martin this year that has put him in the frame for potential race victories again at the age of 41. Verstappen has won five of the seven grands prix so far this season and comfortably leads the championship, but said he would like to see Red Bull’s nearest challenger take a victory if he himself is unable to.
“I like him, he’s a real racer and I think he deserves it,” Verstappen said. “He never gave up, you can see he loves the sport, which…. sometimes, I think after so many years of having a car which is only capable of driving in the midfield, maybe you lose a bit of that love. He’s a real racer, an animal. If you ask me one driver who I would like to see win a race this year, it’s Fernando.”
Verstappen doesn’t believe Red Bull will be able to complete a clean sweep of the season despite winning every race so far, and having a comfortable advantage over the rest of the field to date.
“If you look at how we’re performing now yes, but it’s very unrealistic because there will always be things that go wrong in a season that are maybe sometimes out of your control,” he said.
“There was only one year where McLaren was close, one race, and it was less races than now. I don’t think that’s possible. It’s also not necessary … Last year was already quite crazy with 15 wins, but as long as I win the championship, that’s the most important thing.”
While the 25-year-old is targeting the title, he also admits he wanted to take part in a demonstration at the Nurburgring Nordschleife that will see Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo driving F1 machinery, but was blocked from doing so.
“I wanted to do it, but I was not allowed from Helmut (Marko, Red Bull advisor). He knew I’d try go to the limit. I would have loved to do it.
“I would have definitely given (the lap record) a go but you need some… not the demo tires… some proper tires, which they don’t allow.
“I don’t want to start unnecessary issues. I found it quite funny … I heard this thing was coming up and Helmut – because I think we were sitting at a table when it came up – he was like ‘no, no, no you’re not doing that’.”