Mercedes’ improved performances will affect Max Verstappen and Red Bull in the second half of the season, according to David Coulthard. However, the Scotsman still believes that the Milton Keynes squad have the fastest and most reliable car, which will help the Dutchman retain his massive championship lead.
Speaking to the Dutch edition of Racing News 365, Coulthard said:
“Max has now opened up a big lead. But it’s not over of course until it’s technically over. There will be a lot of intrigue I’m sure in the remaining second half of the season. Mercedes look like they’re coming back as well.”
The Scotsman feels the championship is not over until the final race or the mathematics suggest so. Hence, Max Verstappen will have to continue to aggressively defend his lead.
With the massive gap between Charles Leclerc and the reigning champion, Coulthard doesn’t feel Ferrari will be a threat. However, an improved Mercedes could make the closing races of the season interesting.
David Coulthard draws similarities between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen
David Coulthard believes lesser errors from Charles Leclerc could help him become the ‘real deal’ in F1. The Scotsman feels that the Ferrari driver is making similar errors to what Max Verstappen made earlier in his career and can be ironed out.
Speaking to Channel 4, the former McLaren driver drew parallels between both the title protagonists, saying:
“I wasn’t surprised because that’s been part of how [Charles Leclerc’s] been his whole time in Formula 1. Go back to Azerbaijan [qualifying, 2019] in the Ferrari – popped it into the wall at the chicane and said ‘I’m so stupid, I’m so stupid’. He’s not stupid, he’s a brilliantly fast racing driver.”
“It’s more than a racing company. It’s a country, it’s a worldwide tifosi. Once he’s ironed out those little errors – and let’s remind ourselves, Max Verstappen made errors like that in his early career – he will be the real deal.”
Due to Ferrari’s strategy error in Hungary and Leclerc’s own error in France, Max Verstappen now leads the driver’s championship by 80 points. With nine more races left on the calendar, the Monegasque driver and his team will have to be flawless in the next few races to even match the Dutchman.