Verstappen becomes a target
The season was longer than Sebastian Vettel's and Michael Schumacher's seasons in which both Germans won 13 races, but Verstappen has shown exceptional dominance in 2022 by winning two more races in one year. Hill warns the Red Bull Racing driver as he believes the competition could react fiercely to his continued success.
In the F1 Nation podcast, the 1996 F1 champion, Hill says: "Not everybody loves a winner, their expression is or the idea is once you're leading, you're in a happy place. But there's also this other thing, which is in this business, all these other teams want to bring you down. So you become a target, and it can be sometimes baffling why people don't celebrate when you're doing really well, but there is that flip side to being successful."
Hill sees it in action
The fact that Verstappen was so strong in 2022 therefore made Verstappen a bigger target. According to Hill, not everyone was happy with Verstappen's performance. The Briton saw that he was already being challenged in 2022 and that the Red Bull driver was being provoked to find his weak spot. Hill: "Max has experienced that a little bit this year, they've been trying to take a dig and poke to see if there's any weaknesses here and there and it's been stressful from that point of view."
Hill does not get more specific about the provocations he has seen, but it is conceivable that the Briton is referring to all the negative reactions and hate messages Verstappen received after the Brazil GP. Hill could also be talking about Sky Sports' coverage, which Verstappen and his team labelled unfair and hostile. Hill: "You want respect for the work you do and the hard work it takes to win, but not everyone's going to be happy you're winning, and that's just a sad fact of life."