Max Verstappen believes that a number of drivers, including himself, could have matched Lewis Hamilton in winning the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship if they had the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport package available to them.
With 11 victories, six of them coming in the final nine races of the season, Hamilton claimed his fifth world championship with a record points total for a driver in a single season with 408. His nearest rival Sebastian Vettel stood 88 points adrift for Scuderia Ferrari.
Hamilton’s 2018 achievements saw him equal Juan Manuel Fangio‘s championship tally and move inside 20 victories of Michael Schumacher‘s record number of Grand Prix victories. The 34-year-old needs a further 19 wins to surpass the German’s total of 91.
However Verstappen believes that he and a number of other drivers could have won the championship in equal machinery. In Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s final year with customer Renault Sport engines before moving to Honda for ’19 Verstappen managed two victories on his way to fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.
“I think Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and I could just as easily be champion with such a car,” Verstappen said, speaking to Formule 1.
“When I see onboard images, I think Mercedes has not even gone full throttle in many races.”
The 21-year-old Dutchman also believes that he can be champion with Red Bull, should Honda deliver a solid power unit for them. Verstappen reportedly had the chance to join Mercedes in 2017 following Valtteri Bottas‘s mid-season stutter, but suggested that it would not have been “convenient” for him to play a supporting role to Hamilton.
“When I think of my own career, it is not convenient to sit next to Hamilton or Vettel right now,” he added. “Although I would absolutely do it if I had no other choice.
“I believe that with Red Bull I can also become champion, as long as we have the right package together.”