It’s Always Red Bull vs Mercedes, Isn’t it?
Sports is always better when there’s a little—or a lot—of drama sprinkled in the mix…
The Singapore Grand Prix is right around the corner, but with its arrival comes F1 breaking news and some drama. Max Verstappen has taken a shot at Hamilton’s Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff while Lewis Hamilton remains publicly critical of Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko’s unseemly comments regarding his Mexican driver Sergio Pérez.
Verstappen Claps Back at Mercedes Honcho
Ah, the drama. Sports is always better when there’s a little—or a lot—of drama sprinkled in the mix. It’s the reason fighters talk trash to each other before they meet in the ring because it sells tickets.
Yet, much of that trash talk is premeditated and contrived but the prevailing F1 drama is organic and straight from the heart. According to the most recent F1 rumors floating about, there are two simultaneous spats currently underway so let’s focus on one beef at a time.
First, it appears as though the Mercedes head honcho, Toto Wolff, is so jealous of Red Bull’s success that he is pretending as though their stunning achievements this season are irrelevant. Max Verstappen claimed a record 10th consecutive win at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza and naturally, Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner, was effusive in his praise for Verstappen’s magnificent performances.
“Max, what he’s doing, he’s breaking records, he’s driving at an unbelievable level,” Horner said. “I don’t think there’s anybody in the world right now that could beat Max Verstappen in this car, that’s for sure.”
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) September 3, 2023
But some believe this total domination by Verstappen and Red Bull this season is not good for the sport. In other words, let other people hold the trophy, ya big meanies.
Horner tends to disagree and said, “You have to recognize and applaud what Max is doing at the moment. It’s very special to have achieved what he achieved. We shouldn’t detract from that in any way. In sport, very rarely things like this happen. I think it’s a golden moment for him and a golden moment for the team.”
But don’t believe your lyin’ eyes, it’s no big deal what Verstappen is doing, said Mercedes shot caller, Toto Wolff. According to him what Verstappen has done is “completely irrelevant”. “For me, these types of records are completely irrelevant,” Wolff said. “They were irrelevant in our good days in Mercedes, I don’t know how many races we won in a row, and I didn’t even know that there was a count for how many races in a row you win.”
— The Athletic Motorsports (@TheAthleticAUTO) September 14, 2023
Max Verstappen caught wind of Wolff’s comments and fired back with, “Mercedes had a pretty sh*t race, so he was probably still pissed off with their performance. He almost sounds like he’s an employee of our team but luckily he is not. It’s just important that you focus on your own team, that’s what we did in the past when they were dominating. It worked as a kind of inspiration.
“You should be able to appreciate when a team is doing really well. To see someone that dominant, we knew that we just had to work harder and try to get to that level.”
Ah, poor Toto, you can be the moon but still be jealous of the stars.
Lewis Hamilton Stands In Sergio Perez’s Corner
In other F1 news, Mercedes’ legendary driver, Lewis Hamilton, remains outraged at a racist comment made by Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko about his own driver, Sergio Pérez.
Let’s hear what Marko said about Pérez not living up to expectations despite him winning the only two Grand Prix races this season in which Verstappen didn’t finish first.
“Let’s remember that he (Perez) is South American and so he is not as focused as Max Verstappen or Sebastian Vettel was,” said Marko.
Lewis Hamilton has given his thoughts on Helmut Marko’s recent comments about Sergio Perez 🗣 pic.twitter.com/Coc21U92kl
— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) September 14, 2023
Yeah, that’s the sort of thing that will get you canceled and Hamilton has been an advocate for racial equality for years, so it’s not surprising that when he heard that comment fireworks were about to ensue despite Marko subsequently apologizing for his remarks.
“It is completely unacceptable. This is not something you just apologize for and it is all OK,” he said. “Whilst we say there is no room for any type of discrimination in this sport and there should be no room for it, to have leaders and people in his position making comments like this is not good for us moving forward.
Lewis on Marko’s racist comments on Checo:
“It’s completely unacceptable what he said. Whilst we said there’s no room for any type of discrimination within the sport, to have leaders and people in his position making comments like this is not good for us moving forward. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/nH9Dfza7hJ
— Sir Lewis Updates (@LH44updates) September 14, 2023
“There are a lot of people in the background that really are combating these kind of things, but it is hard to maneuver if people at the top have mindsets which stop us from progressing. But it is not my team and not how we move as a team. We still have a lot of work to do to make this a more inclusive environment.”