Max Verstappen ‘not a Mercedes fan’ as Red Bull chief plays down rumours

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Max Verstappen will not sign for Mercedes even if Red Bull produce a bad car, according to Helmut Marko. His comments come after reports suggested Verstappen’s father Jos had made contact with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff at Imola.

The pair were seen shaking hands in the paddock, raising suspicions Verstappen could one day sign for the most successful team of the past decade. Verstappen has recently signed a new contract extension which keeps him at Red Bull until 2028.

However, the team have previously confirmed Verstappen’s new deal does include a range of exit clauses. One ‘escape clause’ can seemingly be triggered if Red Bull underperform to the point Verstappen cannot challenge for the title.

However, the Red Bull chief claims the Dutchman was ‘not a Mercedes fan’, cooling the rumours before they have got off the ground. According to Sports Mole, Marko said: “There are performance clauses in the contract that could theoretically allow Max to exit.

“But a lot would have to happen. And Max is still not a Mercedes fan.” Marko addressed Verstappen’s future at the end of last season, claiming there was ‘no danger’ the Dutchman would never drive for the Silver Arrows.

He told Formel1.de: “There is no such danger. Too much was destroyed in Silverstone.” Verstappen’s crash with Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone was one of the biggest flashpoints of last season.

Hamilton made contact with Verstappen’s rear right tyre, slamming him into the wall at the fast Copse corner at 160mph. Verstappen was taken to hospital for a check-up while Hamilton continued to claim victory.

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The reigning champion attacked Mercedes’ approach to the incident, branding the team ‘disrespectful’.

He said: “[It is] disrespectful if one guy is in the hospital and the other one is waving the flag around like nothing has happened while you push the guy into the wall with 51G. Not only that, just the whole reaction of the team besides that. That’s not how you celebrate a win, especially a win how they got it.

“That’s what I found really disrespectful and in a way it shows how they really are, it comes out after a pressure situation. But I wouldn’t want to be seen like that.”

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