Max Verstappen, the Red Bull driver who is in contention for a third straight championship, has received plaudits from Lewis Hamilton for “an exceptional job” that he has performed.
If teammate Sergio Perez does not earn at least six more points than Verstappen during the sprint race on Saturday in Qatar, Verstappen will win the Formula 1 drivers’ championship.
Max has been faultless, and no one can take that away from him, according to Hamilton.
“He’s done an amazing job with the package he has.”
Verstappen and the team have been amazing, Hamilton continued, ahead of this weekend’s anticipated coronation. The standard has been raised.
The sprint, a race that lasts roughly 30 minutes and is shorter than a grand prix, awards eight points to the winner and one point for placing eighth.
No matter what Perez performs, Verstappen will win the title again if he places at least sixth in the sprint.
Verstappen cannot avoid that reality, but his only goal this weekend is to triumph.
13 of the 16 races staged so far this season have been won by the Dutchman, who added: “We are having a wonderful year and we just come into this weekend and want to win again.
“And of course I know that if I win or whatever on Saturday, I win the championship, but we are just very focused on the main job.”
Verstappen claimed he was unconcerned about whether or not winning in a sprint race would be disappointing.
Verstappen remarked, “I don’t think it really matters if it’s Saturday or Sunday. “Winning at the first chance you get is always wonderful.
“Winning three consecutive championships is never simple. You need a really good vehicle, but I always work to maintain consistency and limit my errors.
“Except for Singapore [last month], the vehicle is in a really wonderful window, but all the previous races it was really comfortable to drive. However, making mistakes when driving at the limit is still simple, and that is what I work to avoid.
A few of Verstappen’s competitors also gave him praise.
Only two races have been won by Perez, who stated, “Max has done an outstanding job. Compared to other drivers, he has driven at a higher level.
“An incredible season, breaking so many records, and when you win so many races – and they weren’t easy races, sometimes they were tricky with the weather conditions we went through, June, July all the races were hit by rain – and when you make no mistakes and deliver the job every weekend, it is big respect,” Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin said.
“He delivers on every area, and that is not something every driver can do,” remarked Lando Norris of McLaren.
“The challenging part is for him to perform at 100%, 100% of the time. Although Sergio has typically been closer to him on street circuits, he has stated that he is not the biggest fan of them. However, you might argue that he lacks any shortcomings. He did a fantastic job. Both Red Bull and he deserve it.
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