Verstappen a title contender "if Honda can keep this up" - Wolff

19-03-2019 12:19
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
F1 News
Verstappen a title contender if Honda can keep this up - Wolff

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is convinced Max Verstappen is a title contender this season, provided Red Bull Racing's Honda engine can keep up the performance it showed in Australia.

During the Australian Grand Prix, Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari on the straight heading towards turn three. This could be because Vettel was slow in his second stint or because of the bigger impact DRS has this season, but the fact remains that this would've been impossible in past years with the Renault engines.

Because of this, and Verstappen's impressive third-place finish, Wolff is convinced the 21-year-old could be scrapping for the title this season.

"When you look at how Verstappen could overtake Vettel in turn three, you know the power [of the Honda engine] is good," Wolff told the Dutch version of

"No other car has done that there, so it's really thanks to Honda. It's nice to see them back at the top and in combination with Red Bull, it's a big threat."

Verstappen's podium was his first in Australia, and also Honda's first podium finish since 2008, underlining that the Japanese engine manufacturer has improved massively in recent times.

"If Honda can show this performance every race, Max Verstappen is definitely a title contender. We're really going to have to account for them this year and that's a good thing. Honda deserves to be back at the top," the Austrian concluded about his rivals.

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