Verstappen ‘would smash’ Hamilton at Mercedes, says Piquet

Three-time Formula 1 world champion Nelson Piquet believes Max Verstappen would “smash” Lewis Hamilton if he were driving alongside him at Mercedes.

Verstappen ‘would smash’ Hamilton at Mercedes, says Piquet

The Brazilian driver, who won titles in 1981, 1983 and 1987, has no doubts the Dutch driver would come out on top in a side-by-side challenge in equal machinery after seeing their battle at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Piquet, whose daughter Kelly is dating Verstappen, also questioned the ability of Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, saying: “It’s not that Hamilton isn’t good. But he has an inferior driver by his side and the previous one [Nico Rosberg] was even worse.”

His son, 2014-15 Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr, also backed Verstappen, saying he is “coming with a knife between his teeth.”

The pair spoke to Motorsport.com Brazil after Verstappen narrowly missed out on victory at the Bahrain GP on Sunday, having been forced to give back the lead to Hamilton after passing him while off the track.

Piquet Sr said: “First of all, we have to consider that F1 is a category with different cars, so it’s very difficult to make a direct comparison between two drivers if they are not on the same team.

“But if Max were driving for Mercedes, I’m sure that he would smash Hamilton.

“Max is more aggressive. He may make mistakes more frequently due to this aggressiveness, but in my opinion he’s better than Hamilton.

“Things are too easy for Hamilton to win it all with Bottas by his side as a second driver.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Piquet compared the scenario that Hamilton faces in F1 to that which he went through at Williams in the 1980s.

PLUS: The calls that decided Hamilton and Verstappen's Bahrain battle

“It’s a little bit like Mansell and myself in Williams, with the other drivers far behind,” he explained.

“I won the 1987 championship, and I wasn’t driving like before, because I had the accident at the beginning of the year and had field depth problems. But I won that championship, with a bit of luck. I should have won in 1986, but won in 1987.

“But it was so easy. The car was far better than the others. And Mercedes is far better than the others for the past years.

“It’s not that Hamilton isn’t good. But he has an inferior driver by his side and the previous one [Nico Rosberg] was even worse. He [Rosberg] won because it was a year where Hamilton had crashes and DNFs.”

Piquet Jr, who also had a brief spell in Formula 1 driving for Renault alongside Fernando Alonso in 2008-09, added: “I think we have to consider two things: Lewis’ experience and Max’s desire.

“Lewis has been in F1 for 15 seasons and I think that, little by little, you start to lose that desire. On the other hand, Max is coming with a knife between his teeth.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“Lewis has already won seven championships, so he comes with another type of 'fire'. And that can make a difference.

“I like to compare Max with a MMA fighter, coming ready to face any challenge.

“It’s different from Lewis, that [he has] already won championships and so on.

“Lewis’ experience will help in some areas, but Max’s willingness and aggressiveness is bigger.”

shares
comments

Related video

Vettel struggling to handle F1 pressure - Berger
Previous article

Vettel struggling to handle F1 pressure - Berger

Next article

Red Bull plans Imola development push to improve RB16B

Red Bull plans Imola development push to improve RB16B
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Plus

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022