A Formula One title win for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, breaking the stranglehold of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, would be good for motorsport, three-time champion Jackie Stewart says.
Verstappen leads Hamilton by 19 points heading into Sunday’s Brazil Grand Prix and the Dutchman looks increasingly capable of denying the Briton the title for the first time since 2016.
Stewart, the world champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973, said in Sao Paulo he was looking forward to seeing a “great end” to the championship.
“Verstappen, of course, is very hungry and he is young and he is ambitious, so I think there is a very good chance that he should win the championship this year and I think that would be good for motorsport, good for Formula One,” said Stewart.
“Because the Mercedes, I think, have almost been, certainly not boring, but there needs to be a change at some point or another and I think that point has arrived.”
Stewart warned though that everything was still to play for: “We are four Grand Prix away at the present time, that’s a lot of points.”
David Coulthard, the British driver who finished runner-up in 2001 behind Michael Schumacher, said at the same media event that he would also welcome a new champion.
“I think Max is on a roll, I think he would be a good champion, and I think he represents change so, from a broadcaster’s point of view, I think it would be nothing new if Lewis wins another title,” Coulthard said.
Hamilton was due to start Saturday’s sprint race from the front of the grid with Verstappen next to him on the front row.
However, Hamilton was called to see the stewards investigating a potential breach of technical regulations while Verstappen was facing questions for allegedly touching his rival’s car while it was parked up.