David Coulthard has said that anyone who claims Max Verstappen’s success is solely down to the car is “an idiot.”

The Dutchman has been in dominating form in the last two seasons. Winning 25 races in two years and amassing 854.5 points, 227 more than any other driver.
But despite, the Red Bull man still has his detractors. Maybe point to the conclusion of the 2021 season or the minor cost cap breach while, just as Lewis Hamilton has been told, some claim it is all to do with the car rather than the driver.

One man who does not believe that is Coulthard who suggested that anyone who though Verstappen’s success was 100% due to the car was a “f**king idiot.”

“Just as Lewis doesn’t need nine World titles for me to consider him one of the greatest drivers in the sport, Max doesn’t need three to be considered one of the best,” Coulthard told Formule1.nl.

“Max is already one of the greats. You would also have to be a f**king idiot to claim that he only achieved this ‘because he was in a good car.’

“After all, none of his team-mates have been able to measure up to him. Max is a beast on the track, a winning machine who doesn’t give a s**t about what we have to say or what anyone else has to say. He’s incredible.”

Max Verstappen has shown he is more than just the car beneath him

The notion that Verstappen is only now successful because of the RB18 is somewhat fanciful considering his achievements in the sport.

Take a time when Mercedes were at their clinical best. Who was it that was the one non-Mercedes driver to win more than once? Verstappen.

The Dutchman has crossed the line first in at least two races in every season since 2017, a record that no other driver can currently claim to have done. There would also be few to argue that the Red Bull car was anywhere near better than Mercedes’ until 2021 at the earliest.

Coulthard also makes the point that if was purely down to the car, then Verstappen’s team-mate would have had just as much success than him. Perez’s two wins to Verstappen’s 15 in 2022 suggests otherwise.

The driver vs car debate has long ranged and will continue to do so but if there is one man who has the CV to show he is more than just the machinery beneath him, it is Max Verstappen.

Formula 1 are aiming to modify the regulations on shortened races, following the confusing conclusion to the Max Verstappen’s title challenge.

When Verstappen crossed the line at Suzuka in the rain-shortened race, it was assumed that he was not the 2022 Formula 1 World Champion.

Even after Charles Leclerc copped a five-second time penalty by cutting the final chicane on that last lap and gaining an advantage that would drop him to third and promote Sergio Perez, it was still not enough.

As the race had not reached 75% of its scheduled distance needed for full points to kick in following the two-hour rain delay, the expectation was that the sliding scale of reduced points would be referred to – this having been refined in the aftermath of the abandoned 2021 Belgian Grand Prix.

It was believed that Verstappen would be left one point short of the total he required to seal the title and that the coronation would roll on to the United States two weeks later.

However, a quirk in the sporting regulations meant that because the race hit the three-hour hard stop window Grands Prix must be completed within, full points were dished out.

F1 and the FIA are now taking steps to ensure that this scenario cannot happen again.
Max Verstappen

What was the quirk?

During the off-season, the rules were re-written ahead of 2022, with a new set of points to be awarded in shortened races, provided intervals of 25%, 50% and 75% of the planned race distance were reached.

This is covered in Article 6.5 of the sporting regulations.

However, this sliding scale would only be applied if a race was “suspended in accordance with Article 57 and cannot be resumed” – this being the article that covers the suspension of a race and it not being able to be restarted.

Following the red flag in Japan, the race was restarted and ran to the time-enforced chequered flag. By definition, this meant full points were awarded.

According to RacingNews365.com’s sources on the F1 Commission, the line “a race is suspended in accordance with Article 57 and cannot be resumed” is set to be removed from the regulations.

This means that the three columns of points can be awarded as intended in 2023 onwards in similar situations.

It is intended that six points shall be awarded to the winner if they complete more than two green flag laps, but less than 25% of race distance, rising to 13 for 50% and 19 for 75%.

If no green flag racing can take place, or less than two laps are completed, the podium ceremony and TV interviews are set to be cancelled.

British superstar Lewis Hamilton has been living it up in the wake of a fractured Formula 1 campaign that ended without a single race win.
Mercedes endured a season to forget in 2022, and Formula 1 giant Lewis Hamilton is making up for lost time by creating new memories in the off-season. The veteran recorded a career-worst sixth-place finish this year, while Red Bull rival Max Verstappen sauntered to a successful title defence.

This was also the first season in which Hamilton has failed to win a single race since joining F1’s ranks with McLaren back in 2007. The seven-time world champion recently went so far as to say he grew “sick and tired” of Mercedes’ car in 2022, feelings that were exacerbated particularly by the W13’s porpoising issues in the first half of the season.

It seems only right the frustrated F1 favourite has an opportunity to let his hair down after ending the year with one final retirement in Abu Dhabi. And Hamilton did just that with a post-season trip to Egypt, where he’s been seen hanging out with supermodel Naomi Campbell.

The 37-year-old posted pictures from a recent Dior catwalk event in Cairo, where he took in a show with the Giza necropolis as a backdrop. Hamilton shared images watching alongside fashion friend Campbell, as well as his own tour of the pyramids and a night-time laser display, to boot.

“First time in Egypt,” he wrote via Instagram. “I’ve wanted to come here for the longest time, and I’ve been wanting to see more of Africa after my trip this summer. Got to do both in one trip. Thank you @mrkimjones and the @dior team for inviting me along, these two beautiful days in Cairo were incredible.”

As well as taking in Dior’s latest wares, Hamilton posted a video of himself exploring the pyramid catacombs. He also made time for a surf and looked just as confident on the waves as he does in the cockpit.
Tommy Hilfiger ambassador Hamilton has long held an interest in fashion and is often seen sporting peculiar trends of his own around the grid. However, many fans will hope to see his attentions focused back on F1 ahead of 2023, which could be his final season in the sport.

The Briton’s Mercedes deal is set to expire at the end of next year, which will be his 11th with the Silver Arrows (17th overall). Hamilton signalled his intention to ink a new deal earlier in 2022, though nothing is for certain until he signs on the dotted line.

Both Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz started their F1 journey together at Red Bull’s sister team, Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri). It’s obvious that the young duo would have shared some great moments together. While talking about the same, in an interview in 2015, Carlos Sainz revealed one weird secret about Max Verstappen.

Currently battling against each other, Verstappen and Sainz have shared some of the best times together. So it’s unsurprising that the two have some deep secrets about each other.

In 2015, Carlos Sainz disclosed a hidden fact about Max Verstappen that will make fans burst into laughter. When asked, “what’s something we don’t know about you?” Sainz answered first and said, “He (Verstappen) doesn’t wear underpants.”

Verstappen quickly interjected and said jokingly, “always driving naked.”
He added, “It could be. I mean, you know, sometimes it’s quite warm. So like Singapore or here, I don’t know.”
Sainz Instantly replied, “I’m not gonna say anything else because then we get to humiliation. He will get to my room and he will punch me.” 

Both drivers came to the world of F1 from Red Bull’s junior programme. Where Verstappen has clinched two titles, Sainz is yet to get his hand to the championship title. The astonishing growth this season has given the Spaniard good confidence, as he wants to fight for the championship title next year.

Can Carlos Sainz give Max Verstappen a run for his money next year?

Carlos Sainz had an impressive 2022 season with Ferrari. The Spaniard secured 9 podiums, taking his total to 246 points in the year 2022. Besides, he also helped his team to get the second spot in the constructor’s championship.

Now, the Ferrari driver says he wants to start the next season strongly and give some tough battles to the rest of the drivers. Sainz in an interview with Mundo Deportivo said, “Next year we will have a new car again, where we will try to improve the weaknesses of the car and me, We are going to try to compete at the front from the start.”

The Spaniard further said, “Above all, I want to have a first half of the season where I can stay in the fight. I already know that my second half of the year is usually strong, so it’s a good sign what we see at the end of this year. Hopefully next year I can continue on this basis or even better.”

Both the drivers have enough experience now. The young guns have matured a lot now and this will make the battle between the two old friends even more interesting. Do you think the Spaniard can fight Max Verstappen next year?

Max Verstappen competed in the recent round of the virtual Le Mans series.
With the Formula 1 winter break in full flow, the majority of the drivers have been seen enjoying some downtime, unlike Max Verstappen who it seems can’t get enough of being behind the wheel.

Given how intense the 2022 Formula 1 season was, it’s no surprise that it hasn’t taken the drivers long to get far away from the sport.

Lewis Hamilton has been spotted at fashion events and also in Japan driving a Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R, whilst his former team-mate Valtteri Bottas has been sharing his adventures in Australia on social media.

Max Verstappen, on the other hand, has been driving in the sim world rather than laying back on a holiday somewhere.
Max Verstappen

The double World Champion is well-known to be just as fast in the virtual world as he is in the real world, with the 25-year-old having taken part in several big sim races over the years.

For several years now, Verstappen has competed for Team Redline, whom he was in action for again on Saturday in the penultimate round of the virtual Le Mans series.

The penultimate round of the championship took place at Sebring, where the race consisted of 500 miles.

With that in mind, the race consisted of 134 laps, with Verstappen having driven the final stint of the race for Team Redline.

After starting the race in second, the #1 Team Redline car competing in the LMP class fell to third immediately, after dropping a place at the opening corner of the race.

When Verstappen took control of the car, he was quickly hunted down by none other than the Mercedes Esports team, who had GT driver James Baldwin at the controls.

After a good duel, Verstappen lost third to Baldwin following a mistake at the first corner of the circuit, after running wide and clipping the gravel.

Verstappen running wide saw Baldwin slip up the inside of the Red Bull star, due to the British driver carrying more speed than the imperious Dutchman.

In the end, the 25-year-old had no choice but to settle for fourth, seemingly the best that himself, Max Benecke, and Jeffrey Rietveld could manage.

The final round of the virtual Le Mans series is in fact the Le Mans 24 Hours, which Verstappen has competed in multiple times in the past.

It is scheduled to take place on the 14th-15th January next year, with double points up for grabs.

Mika Hakkinen believes it will not be a “straightforward” task for Max Verstappen to maintain the level of dominance he showed in 2022, given the chances others will have to close the gap.

Verstappen earned his second title in crushing fashion in the end, winning a record 15 races out of 22 compared to just two for Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in the same machinery.

Even though Ferrari’s F1-75 was more than a match for Red Bull’s RB18 for most of the season, Verstappen rarely looked troubled in the lead of races and ultimately cruised to title glory with races to spare, eventually taking top spot by a whopping 146 points – or almost five race victories’ worth of points.

It will be incumbent on the rest of the field to catch up to the Dutchman’s benchmark as a result of his form throughout the year, then, and fellow two-time champion Hakkinen believes chances are there for others to close the gap, given the new regulations in Formula 1 were introduced in the hope of eventually bringing the field closer together.

“He has done a great job with a great team, with the great engineers and designers, including Adrian Newey, who I used to work [with] when I won multiple World Championships,” Hakkinen told Sky Sports at the launch of the new F1 Arcade in London.

“Regulations of Formula 1 are different now than it used to be my time or used to be three, four years ago, so it’s giving a lot of opportunities to other teams for success.

“So I don’t think it’s so straightforward that way he will continue dominating, even [though] he is a great driver. I’m confident we will see some surprises, but who [from]? I don’t know.”

When asked by Sky Sports F1 in Abu Dhabi if he thought 15 wins would be on the cards this season, Verstappen himself responded quickly: “For sure not.

“Already after last year, I said if I can have a season like this again, that would be amazing. But yeah, again, incredible, but also the whole team effort, it’s been really enjoyable to be part of.

“Of course, the goal is always to try and be better, even though I know that is hard to achieve.

I think that attitude should always be there, even if you’re not a champion, you know. At the end of the day, you’re trying to always push for more. I mean, it’s never good enough.”

Bernie Ecclestone has said F1 fans owe Max Verstappen a thank you for bringing them what they wanted – a pure racer.

Verstappen is already on his way to breaking plenty of Formula 1 records but despite his undoubted talent, he is a figure that produces a polarising response from fans.

There are very few who claim to be apathetic towards the Dutchman, with those who love him and hate him in equal measure. But despite this, these opinions are largely based solely on his on-track actions which is not always the case for a driver.

He may be a top-level racing driver but does not fit the stereotypical mould of one. There are few pictures of him out partying or driving expensive cars to nearby Monaco casinos, for instead the Dutchman spends his free time either at home with family and friends or competing in sim racing competitions.

This personality trait makes former F1 chief Ecclestone believe the sport and fans owe the two-time World Champion a thank you.

“Formula 1 should thank Max Verstappen,” the 92-year-old told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

“Max is a racer. He does what he has to do – he just races. The fans have wanted to see someone like that for a long time.”

While Ecclestone did not mention him by name, it could be assumed he was referring to Lewis Hamilton whom the former F1 chief has previously criticised for pursing other interests away from the sport.

Last year, Ecclestone suggested Hamilton had lost some motivation and only returned to the sport because “he probably had a look at the clothing range and music but realised it’s not as easy to make money there as it is in Formula 1”.

Ecclestone also praised Verstappen for reigniting Dutch interest in the sport and said everyone in his country is behind him.

“The Netherlands is so proud of him and everyone is behind him,” Ecclestone said. “That’s the sole reason why we are back at Zandvoort. I haven’t visited the last two races but hopefully it has all improved a bit there, otherwise it wouldn’t be good.”

In terms of predicting Verstappen’s future, Ecclestone said he was hoping the 25-year-old would go on to break the world title record of Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.

“That depends on his car, but if Red Bull have their act together I don’t see why he can’t keep winning,” he said. “Whether Max will ever break the record of seven world titles? Who knows. Let’s hope so.”

Lewis Hamilton has said he will “adapt” to racing against Max Verstappen in future and, while he says “I’m sure we’ll grow” while in combat with each other, he is not expecting much to change.

After a year-long title battle in 2021 which saw multiple incidents between the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers, the pair had largely been away from each other on track in 2022 through Verstappen often being well out in front of the field in his RB18, while Hamilton struggled by comparison.

But the two did end up in wheel-to-wheel action at Interlagos at the penultimate round of the season in Sao Paulo, with Hamilton defending from the Red Bull driver at the Safety Car restart.

Verstappen threw his car to the outside of the first part of the Senna S, which subsequently gave him the inside line for Turn 2, but the two made contact at the apex as they jostled for position.

Both were able to race on, albeit Verstappen needing to pit for wing damage, and Hamilton recovering through the field to take second place behind team-mate George Russell – with the Dutchman given a five-second penalty by the stewards for being found to be predominantly at fault for the incident.

Hamilton gave a withering assessment in the aftermath of the crash, simply saying after the race: “What can I say? You know how it is with Max.”

The seven-time World Champion hopes to see things improve between them in the future, but is not quite convinced yet.

“Most likely,” Hamilton told Sky in Abu Dhabi when asked if he thinks his rivalry with Verstappen will have more flashpoints like that in future.

“I think I’ll adapt. You’ve seen in previous years that I try to avoid [contact] in scenarios.

“I’m sure we’ll grow, both sides will grow and improve hopefully so we don’t have experiences like we did in the last race [Sao Paulo], but I wouldn’t hold your breath.”

Former Formula 1 driver and current Sky Sports analyst Martin Brundle believes Verstappen has a “different set of limits” when racing Hamilton specifically, due to his status and long-standing success in the sport.

Hamilton himself also believes his place in the sport has put a target on his back over time, which is a part of drivers wanting to prove themselves against the most successful in Formula 1.

“I think yeah, you’re probably right,” Hamilton said in agreement with that sentiment.

“I remember when I first got to the sport and your target is the guy that has the most championships.

“It was Fernando [Alonso], then it was Kimi [Raikkonen], because Kimi was one of the best drivers here, and then it was Seb [Vettel] – so I think it’s natural.”

Read more: Adrian Newey has spotted a crucial clue in the approach to sidepod design

Lewis Hamilton failed to secure a win all season as Mercedes struggled to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton has claimed suffering back pain at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was his biggest memory from the 2022 F1 season. The seven-time champion selected an image of him grasping his lower back after the race as one of his only memories from a difficult campaign.

Lewis Hamilton struggled to get out of his car after the chequered flag in Baku because of Mercedes’ extreme porpoising. Moments after undoing his seat belts, Hamilton was seen grabbing his back before sitting down on his cockpit in visible pain.

Lewis Hamilton made the admission in a season review video for Mercedes’ YouTube channel where he and George Russell selected the best moments of the season. Reflecting on the incident, he said: “I don’t actually remember a lot of these photos. This one I remember. This one is the one I remember the most just because of the pain I was in.

“That weekend I went lower than (Russell) on the rear ride height. It was much worse on my car but painful for both of us.”

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has opened up on his biggest memory of a difficult season (Image: Getty)

Russell backed up Hamilton, stressing he was also suffering from similar issues early on in 2022. He added: “The car was so difficult to drive, especially at the start of the year with the bouncing. It wasn’t where we wanted it to be.”

After the race, Hamilton admitted he was biting down on his teeth in agony and stressed he was “praying” for the race to finish. Mercedes had struggled with porpoising at other races in 2022 but the issue worsened for the team in Azerbaijan.

Lewis Hamilton explained: “I was just holding and biting down on my teeth due to the pain, and the adrenaline [helped], I cannot express the pain that you experience, particularly on the straight here. At the end you are just praying for it to end.”

The Briton later claimed he would have failed to meet the FIA’s 10-second extraction test due to the extreme pain. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had raised fears that Hamilton could be out of action in Canada due to the scale of his injury.

Hamilton did compete in the next race weekend but his pain was used to push for major changes to the regulations. The FIA relented a week later, introducing a minimum ride height for all cars from the Belgian Grand Prix.

However, Red Bull boss Christian Horner hinted that Hamilton was putting it on to force rules changes. When asked what he would do if he was in Mercedes’ shoes, Horner replied: “Tell them to b**** as much as they could over the radio and make as big an issue out of it as they possibly could.”

Lewis Hamilton has come under fire for ‘reckless’ antics during the off-season in Japan.
Lewis Hamilton has come under fire after swapping his underperforming Formula One car for a Nissan Skyline supercar and letting off some steam on the streets of Japan. Hamilton visited Tokyo and enjoyed a late-night drive after his miserable Mercedes season ended in dismal fashion with a retirement at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

The seven-time F1 world champion endured an entire season without a race win for the first time in his 15-year career on the grid as Mercedes’ W13 failed to compete with the dominance of Red Bull. And Hamilton is relieved that a forgettable campaign is now over as he aims to renew his rivalry with the irrepressible two-time world champion Max Verstappen in 2023. 

And while Hamilton has often spoken about not enjoying driving day-to-day on the roads when he is not in a rapid F1 car, he appeared to meet his perfect match in a 1998 Nissan Skyline R34, which he enjoyed taking around Tokyo. 

“I only like to drive on track, but I make exceptions,” Hamilton said as he posted a video on Instagram sharing the fun he had inside the £155,000-valued vehicle. In an apparently empty car park, Hamilton pushed his Skyline car to the limits with all-wheel-drive donuts as smoke rose from the gear stick inside his car. 

Lewis Hamilton loved his new adrenaline rush in the absence of F1 with his rented vehicle as he was seen smiling throughout the video. And with a huge Instagram following of 30 million fans, the video has gained over 1.7m likes in under a week since it was posted. 

But not everyone seemed impressed with Hamilton’s antics, as he was criticised for speeding and doing doughnuts in the Nissan vehicle. Road users in Japan took aim at the Brit for ‘strictly prohibited’ speeds during his evening drive. 

Lewis “Surprised to see him acting so recklessly on public roads,” one fan said. “You are violating Japan’s road traffic law, and many Japanese are disappointed with you for doing this with borrowed items,” another claimed. One user on Twitter also described Hamilton’s actions as ‘socially irresponsible’. 

However, some fans saw the light-hearted side of Hamilton enjoying himself during his down time in F1’s off-season. “This is the content we’re here for!,” one fan insisted. “It’s amazing to see him having so much fun,” another claimed.

Hamilton has hit the headlines for his antics in vehicles away the F1 track before, having been banned from driving in France in 2007 after he was clocked by police racking up a speed of above 120mph.