Max Verstappen believes Lewis Hamilton’s recent criticism regarding the quality of his team-mates during his Formula 1 career showcase he’s “jealous” of Red Bull’s current success.
The reigning World Champion overcame the threat from Ferrari and a “little issue” in the closing stages of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix to record his 10th consecutive win, setting a new all-time F1 benchmark number.
Verstappen has now won 12 of the 14 races to be held this year, with Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez securing the other two to preserve Red Bull’s unbeaten season.
Verstappen asserts that the Mercedes camp’s recent verbal attacks demonstrate the team is still failing to accept its plight from the top of the F1 order.
“I think it’s very difficult for Mercedes to deal with losing,” Verstappen expressed. “That’s the problem you have when you’ve won for so many years of course.
“But, at the end of the day, you have to be realistic as well. If it’s not possible [to win], then it’s not possible. You have to be able to appreciate what other teams are doing as well. We did that in the years when Mercedes dominated.
“Back then we just said to ourselves ‘we have to work harder’, because at that time we were simply not good enough compared to them.
“You can keep saying that the things we are achieving at the moment are not that special, or at least that is probably what they think, but in the end, you just have to focus on yourself because that is the only thing you can influence.”
However, Wolff has attached little importance to Hamilton and Verstappen’s war of words in the media, citing that it regularly occurs between racing drivers.
But despite paying respect to Verstappen’s accolades, the Austrian chief has doubled down on Hamilton’s assertions, acknowledging the high calibre of team-mates the Briton has competed against.
“Obviously the drivers like to poke each other,” Wolff noted via Autosport.
“But then you can see that Lewis raced World Champions: he raced Jenson [Button], he raced Fernando [Alonso] and he raced Nico [Rosberg].
“But I don’t want to, in any way, diminish anybody’s performance, because Max in the car is outstanding. It’s just part of the fun.”