[adinserter block="13"]

Max Verstappen to Mercedes: Toto Wolff cranks up charm offensive with Japanese GP verdict

Mercedes boss Wolff is keen to sign the three-time world champion to replace Lewis Hamilton.

-

Toto Wolff once again lavished praise on Max Verstappen after watching the Red Bull driver take the checkered flag at the Formula 1 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, with the Mercedes boss doing little to hide his interest in hiring him for next season.

Wolff will lose Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari in 2025 after the 39-year-old decided to trigger a break clause in his contract February, causing a scramble in the driver market.

And while the likes of Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso were initially linked, the Austrian supremo is making it his personal mission to snatch Verstappen from Red Bull.

The Dutchman, 26, may be in the quickest car that has seen him land three world championship titles back to back, but unrest within the team has led Verstappen to question his long-term future with the team.

Race winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium after the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Race winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium after the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Wolff did not explicitly confirm his interest in Verstappen on this occasion, although this is well-documented from his previous comments this season. Instead, he chose to give him a ‘spectacular’ review for his pole, win and fastest lap combination – and predicted he would be continue to be unbeatable this year.

“No one will catch up with Max this year,” Wolff said after the race to the German language press. “His car is spectacular and he drives spectacularly well, it’s just a matter of who will be the best of the rest.”

Trouble at home for Mercedes

Wolff may be looking to next year already after watching yet another race weekend crumble in front of their very eyes. Mercedes looked quick in FP3 but could only qualify seventh and ninth respectively.

Russell passed his teammate Hamilton under team orders, and the latter aired his frustration with Mercedes‘ strategy during the race, falling from his grid position of seventh, as he registered another poor finish – and Wolff insisted there would be a full investigation.

“We had a bad first stint and have to analyse why that was the case. But the second and third stints were really good. That’s the positive thing we’re taking with us,” Wolff said.

“For us, it’s currently about carrying out a live test. We’re behind, and now we’ve gone in a different direction.

“But we understand the car much better and have now collected much more data that shows us the right direction. Even if the result doesn’t reflect that. But I am more optimistic because our experiments worked – even if this is not reflected in the qualifying result or the race result.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Pascal Wehrlein of Porsche during 2024 Shanghai E-Prix | Formula E

Pascal Wehrlein: Shanghai circuit doesn’t suit Formula E

0
Pascal Wehrlein was less than impressed with Formula E’s Shanghai debut following a Shanghai E-Prix determined by energy saving...
Nico Hulkenberg during 2024 Monaco GP qualifying | Haas F1 Team / LAT Images

Both Haas drivers disqualified in Monaco after using non-compliant part

0
Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg have been disqualified from the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix Qualifying classification for...
Charles Leclerc after 2024 Monaco GP Qualifying | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc reveals last-minute issue almost derailed dream Monaco pole positon

0
Charles Leclerc will aim to make it third time lucky at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix having failing to...
Max Verstappen in the garage during practice ahead of 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen slams Red Bull ‘go kart’ after painful Monaco GP qualifying

0
Max Verstappen has revealed the extent of his issues with his Red Bull car left him feeling he was...
Lando Norris during the 2024 Monaco GP | McLaren

‘It shouldn’t happen in F1’ – Lando Norris blasts Monaco for mistake that almost...

0
Lando Norris lambasted organisers of the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix for a sticker issue that almost dumped him out...
Sergio Perez looks on in qualifying for the 2024 Monaco GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Sergio Perez finds scapegoat for ‘completely disastrous’ Monaco GP Q1 exit

0
Sergio Perez believes he would've reached Q2 if he hadn't encountered traffic on his final Q1 lap, as he...
Lewis Hamilton at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Mercedes / LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton lost for answers after ‘frustrating’ Monaco GP qualifying

0
Lewis Hamilton expressed his "frustration" with Mercedes' qualifying pace and admitted he was unable to explain their lack of...
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Christian Horner explains where Red Bull struggled after dismal Monaco GP qualifying

0
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has conceded their chances of victory at the Formula 1 2024 Monaco Grand Prix...
Charles Leclerc during 2024 Monaco GP during practice | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc denies Verstappen historic pole in breathless Monaco GP qualifying

0
Charles Leclerc will start the Formula 1 2024 Monaco Grand Prix at the front of the grid after the...
Oscar Piastri during the 2024 Monaco GP | McLaren

F1 2024 Monaco GP – Qualifying Results

0
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc kept his cool in Qualifying after dominating the weekend so far, and claimed pole position...
- Advertisment -