The Dutch driver triumphed in the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend, leaving his competitors far behind. He playfully teased his Red Bull team, suggesting that he could make an additional pit stop to provide his mechanics with more practice.
Christian Horner, the head of Red Bull, clarified that his appeal was denied due to concerns about potential mishaps during the stop, which could embarrass the team.
Some people interpreted Verstappen’s comment about making an additional pit stop as a sign of his growing confidence, considering he has emerged victorious in nine out of the 12 races conducted this season.
However, Mercedes did not perceive Verstappen’s attitude as excessively bold.
Wolff expressed, “He has every right to be a little playful. He is clearly outperforming everyone else and there’s nothing more to add. On one hand, it can be frustrating, but it’s also impressive to witness.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
While rivals have tried their hardest to close in on Red Bull, Wolff sees the battle as more personal than that. He thinks that the rest of the field is now at the level of Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez, while it is the Dutchman alone who is a step above everybody.
“He said that we simply have to remove Max from the equation. Our current position is the second Red Bull.”
“It would have been an exceptional season with intense competition, had Verstappen not been present. However, the objective truth revealed by the stopwatch is undeniable. There exists a single individual and vehicle that surpasses all others, and our only option is to strive to reach their level. We have no alternative.”
Wolff believes that the larger gaps between Verstappen and the other drivers at Spa compared to last year do not accurately represent the true competitiveness in Formula 1.
He continues to insist that Mercedes has made significant advancements with their car and is currently in a far superior position compared to a year ago.
“When compared to other races worldwide, Spa was a particularly poor race last year. However, this time around, before the final pit stop, Perez, Leclerc, and our team were all within a six to eight-second range. This represents a significant improvement for us, considering that Spa was a complete disaster in 2022.”
“We believe we have taken that leap forward, but then there is that exceptional individual who has taken another leap ahead. We simply need to address this situation.”