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Formula 1 Belgian GP

Verstappen can understand Alonso's Aston Martin F1 gamble

Max Verstappen says he fully understands why Fernando Alonso has gambled his Formula 1 future on a switch to Aston Martin.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 Team

Alonso caused a stir at the start of the summer break when he announced that he was leaving Alpine and switching to Aston Martin on a multi-year deal.

The move was a surprise because while Alpine is fighting to be best of the rest in F1 behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, Aston Martin is currently ninth in the standings after a difficult campaign.

But while Alonso accepts that there is no guarantee Aston Martin will make the rapid progress he hopes, world champion Verstappen thinks the Spaniard's motivation has been triggered by the "exciting" prospect of pushing the squad forward.

Speaking about the Alonso bombshell which triggered off driver market chaos, Verstappen said: "It was quite the excitement. I mean, with Fernando, why not?

"I think Aston Martin is still a team which wants to come to the front. They're hiring a lot of people. So I can understand for Fernando to go there and try to build that up to maybe another level. It is exciting. So I can understand."

Alonso's departure, when Alpine had been expecting him to stay, has set in motion a sequence of events that has resulted in Daniel Ricciardo parting ways with McLaren at the end of this season.

As a former teammate of the Australian, Verstappen reckoned Ricciardo's ongoing struggles at McLaren had meant it fully made sense for both parties to look at other options.

"I think he was in a situation where the car was not suiting him," added the Red Bull driver. "There was no real improvement of him feeling better in the car.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

"Then when I guess you talk to each other, because we've been talking a lot, you say to each other, maybe it's better that we both assume different directions. That's how it goes sometimes."

Asked if he was surprised about the consistent gap between Lando Norris and Ricciardo at McLaren, Verstappen added "I think Lando, of course, is a great driver.

"But I think that we all know that if you don't feel comfortable in the car and cannot push it to the way you want it to be, or want it to work, then you're never going to be on the same level as the guy who maybe feels more comfortable.

"I don't know exactly what it was between the two drivers, but if it doesn't work out sometimes you need to go somewhere else."

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Verstappen hoped that Ricciardo was successful in securing an F1 seat for 2023 now that he would not be staying at McLaren.

"He's great to have in F1," he said. "He's a great guy. First of all, I get on really well with him. And so of course, I hope he finds a place.

"But of course it's up to him now. And I don't know where he wants to go or where there is space for him."

 

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