Everyone likes a fresh new face, especially if he’s momentously replaced a relatively old hat who was struggling to keep afloat. Max Verstappen stepped into Daniil Kvyat’s plum position at Red Bull Racing amidst much anticipation and cheering. But it’s bound to mean something when one of F1’s greatest contemporaries isn’t so sure about your appointment. Lewis Hamilton has voiced his doubts about Max Verstappen’s ability to live up to everyone’s expectations. Not that he’s faulting Verstappen in the slightest. To him, it’s more of a failure on the team’s part.
“Red Bull have done well bringing young talent forward but they need to be aware that young drivers need time to progress.
“Mistakes happen. To take a driver out of a team he is comfortable in and put him in another is a tough decision.”
Hamilton shared that it took a while for him to get on his feet with McLaren when he was 22.
“A young driver is going to grow in their own time. I crashed on my first day of driving and the first days were really difficult but the team can be a real help in those situations.
“They have two fantastic drivers here and I hope it doesn’t hinder either drivers’ career, because they have bright futures. Too much pressure early on can lead to it going the wrong way.”
We don’t doubt that there is some truth to his words. Shunting a young person into the limelight, no matter how talented he may be, could have its detrimental effects on him. We do agree that everyone has a learning curve to overcome and no one wants to be getting a handle on it before thousands of spectators. It’s a recipe for disaster the same way it can be to make a fragile person a child star.
However, Verstappen himself has no worries about not living up to expectations.
“I’m very happy with the chance they have given me. They are racing for a top team, that was already what I was hoping to do.
“It was a bigger risk to be so young in F1 but I have handled it pretty well.
“Getting used to a new car is not so easy, but the factory has already given me a lot of confidence. It will come race by race and I am going to enjoy it.”
Perhaps his confidence and mental fortitude are what make him so appealing to the general public. We have a feeling that even if he encounters turbulent times like Hamilton predicts, he’ll be doing just fine.