Speaking exclusively to Give Me Sport, David Coulthard has said that Max Verstappen is currently the favourite for the F1 world championship title this season but that the Dutchman will know things can soon change fast in the final four races.
Formula 1 heads to Brazil this weekend with the third and final edition of Sprint in the offing, presenting a chance for Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton et al. to add a few extra points to their totals ahead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix on Sunday.
Indeed, every point counts at this stage and Verstappen has done well to build a little bit of a cushion in recent weeks to now lead by 19 from Mercedes star Hamilton, but he has seen bigger leads this season eroded already and will know twists and turns could well await.
For David Coulthard, the Red Bull man has to be considered the favourite to win his maiden crown this year as things stand, but he also labelled Lewis Hamilton as one of the greats and regardless of what happens this year that status will not be impacted, going on to say that both men would deserve the championship this season:
“The momentum is definitely with Max having won the last two Grands Prix but as you know it can change very quickly.
“One non-finish for Max and suddenly it can swing pretty quickly back to Lewis leading the championship and with things like the point for the fastest lap and of course Lewis being in one of the fastest cars with his teammate that will play wingman, he’s got everything in his favour to win this championship as has Max within Red Bull.
“Right now, and I think over the season as a whole given that Max is coming as the underdog and as the one that’s trying to topple the existing champions, he has to be the favourite and I’ve said already that I think he would be a good winner for Formula 1.
“That’s not at all taking anything away from Lewis’ greatness. I think they both deserve this championship but that said that’s not going to happen, one will walk away with it and I think Max represents a fresh start for the world championship.
“He does capture a different audience and Lewis has re-signed for a couple of years with Mercedes so he still has a chance to get that eighth title, not that I personally think this year changes anything in terms of where he sits as one of the greats, he could have easily been a nine-time world champion already if you look at how close he has been on other occasions.
“He’s already established himself as one of the true greats of the sport but it just somehow feels like it could go the other way.
“When you look at the adversity Red Bull and Honda have overcome – Honda had a horrible start to their modern era with their debut with McLaren, it was truly embarrassing, but I think it’s shown great resilience on their part and winning spirit to have come back from that.
“Red Bull, I think we can all accept, have continually produced a very good racing car but they’ve not always enjoyed a good relationship with their previous engine partners. I’m not going to apportion blame for that because I’m not close enough to it but I just feel they certainly put in the hard work and therefore I don’t think anybody could say they don’t deserve it if they win the title.”
Tune in this Saturday for the F1 Sprint at the São Paulo Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports and highlights on Channel 4