Ross Brawn believes Max Verstappen is now ready to challenge Lewis Hamilton for the drivers’ championship - if Red Bull can provide a competitive car.
The 2019 F1 season has been the Dutchman’s best to date, with him winning three races in Austria, Germany, and Brazil, and also claiming the very first pole position of his career.
Should Red Bull maintain their current upturn in form in their new partnership with Honda to take on Mercedes and Ferrari regularly, Brawn is in no doubt that Verstappen will challenge Hamilton.
“He is only just 22 years old and is no doubt in his most clinical form to date. He is ready to challenge Lewis Hamilton," he wrote in his post-race newsletter after Abu Dhabi with regards to Verstappen.
"Of course he needs a suitable car to do that and that was not the case at the start of this season. The cooperation between Red Bull and Honda has taken several steps during the year. They are now starting to achieve results that indicate that they can compete for the world champion in 2020."
Brawn thinks that part of Verstappen’s improvement this season is down to maturity, with less “hothead” moments being showed by the Red Bull man in 2019.
"Max scored the first pole of his Formula 1 career in Hungary, a second in Brazil and has booked three victories, putting him at a total of eight.
“But more importantly, we saw him make fewer mistakes, which in the past was mainly due to his impatient character. Those moments of hothead have cost him a lot in previous seasons, but this year there were far fewer.”
Following the final race of the season at Yas Marina, Verstappen finished third in the driver’s championship with 278 points.
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