Max has been impressive from the start of the season. He is driving like he drove last year. Normally you might be a bit tired after a championship year, but you can see that nothing has changed. In fact, he’s just got stronger. He’s been released from that championship pressure – he’s shown that he can win a title.
In the last two races, Max has certainly shown that he deserved the title. A car can always break down, but apart from that, he’s always competing for the win. He drives almost flawlessly, and when he makes an error, he corrects it. He drives at the peak of his abilities, on the edge. He makes the best of what he can control. There has not been a single race in which he’s given less than the best – we saw that again in Miami.
In any case, this result is good for the championship. We have two teams up front which are fighting it out and are very close to each other. They each have a leader who is not determined by the team but simply on the track. Verstappen and Leclerc have become number 1 in a natural way. Red Bull and Ferrari will make a decision about that at some point, but as a whole, both teams are quite balanced. Carlos Sainz and Sergio Pérez – let’s call them the sidekicks – can win races. But they are not yet at the level of the respective number 1s.
Changing of the guard
I think we have seen the final changing of the guard at Mercedes. George Russell is riding the wave, Lewis Hamilton is trying not to drown. After many years of winning without competition, it’s hard to wake up and realise it’s not that easy. He now has to drive like he did in his first two years in Formula 1, which is what Russell is doing now. In the race Russell took the decision: leave me out, maybe a safety car will come – and it paid off.
Lewis’ champion’s luck seems to have left him, he doesn’t have the momentum and nothing’s going his way. It’s going to be a tough fight, but Lewis is a racer and a champion. He knows what needs to be done and we’ll see if he still has the energy to do it. But I think missing the world title last year is a heavy burden for him that he carried with him all winter. He was bitter and feels that he was robbed. But you can see from the way Max drives that he didn’t steal the title at all and is a deserved champion.
Chaos in the paddock
All in all, I thought it was a good race, although that was partly due to the safety car. Drivers made mistakes and we had an exciting battle at the end. What more could you want? There was chaos in the paddock, maybe too many people. But it was a good chaos, it also depends on what kind of audience you want: if you don’t allow so many people in, you also have fewer stars. It shows that F1 is healthy.