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'Mercedes got a penalty but Verstappen stopped it'

'Mercedes got a penalty but Verstappen stopped it'

28-09-2021 14:30 Last update: 14:31
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It looked as if Max Verstappen was going to lose a lot of points to Lewis Hamilton in Russia, but the chaotic final stage in the rain saw the Dutchman finish second behind his great rival in the battle for the championship.

Mercedes got a penalty

An engine change meant Verstappen had to start from the back of the grid and a fifth-place seemed the highest achievable. In the end, that too proved too optimistic and it looked like the Dutchman had to settle for seventh. However, the late rain shower shook up the field, resulting in a second-place for the Red Bull driver who is now just two points behind Hamilton in the championship.

DTM boss Gerhard Berger would put his money on Verstappen, he says. F1 Insider. "I think Max is going to be world champion. He finally has a car on par with Mercedes and he's doing a fantastic job. His second place in Sochi was more than damage control, considering he had to start at the very back." In doing so, the Austrian makes a nice football comparison. "You could say Mercedes got a penalty, but Max stopped it."

Verstappen knows what he needs to do

A strong point of Verstappen is his mental strength, Berger believes. "Max, with all his determination and concentration, seems completely clear-headed. He knows exactly what to do." According to Berger, Verstappen spoke to Valtteri Bottas prior to the race. He thinks Verstappen made it equally clear to the Finn to stay out of the title fight. "Champions do that too. Senna went to the drivers on the grid before every race and told them his plans. That always worked."

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