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
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Max Verstappen
Teams Mercedes
Author Megan White
Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Plus

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021