‘It would not be good for us’: Max Verstappen rules out engine change in Saudi Arabia

Just eight points separate Verstappen and Hamilton in the drivers’ standings with two races remaining

Dylan Terry
Friday 03 December 2021 10:57
Red Bull Admit Saudi GP Will Favor Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen has ruled out taking a new engine for the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix this weekend as the world title race threatens to take another turn.

The Dutchman leads rival Lewis Hamilton by just eight points with two races remaining - this Sunday in Saudi Arabia and seven days later in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has revealed his team are preparing to put their ‘spicy’ engine back in for this weekend - a move which is expected to give them a power advantage over Red Bull.

Yet despite this, Verstappen is adamant his team will not take a five-place grid penalty in order to put a new engine in his car.

Speaking to Motorsport-total.com, he said: "With a new engine, we don't have the same peak performance as Mercedes. So changing the engine wouldn't do us any good."

Verstappen still has the advantage heading into the final two races of the season in the Middle East. But Hamilton has reduced the gap significantly in recent weeks, following up a sensational victory in Brazil with another win at the Qatar GP.

The Brit, 36, is eyeing a record-breaking eighth drivers’ title, with a victory in 2021 eclipsing the seven Michael Schumacher won between 1994 and 2004.

Meanwhile, Verstappen is going for his first title and had never previously held the world championship before this season. But he does not feel that disparity in experience will play a major part.

“I think it’s natural of course that when you are in this stage of your career you are better prepared than what you were in your first or second, when Lewis was fighting for his first title,” he said.

“I think it’s a natural progression and it’s very normal. I also feel much better prepared and more experienced than when I first came into Formula One.

“No, I don’t think that makes a big difference (in the title race), because otherwise it would have shown already throughout the season.”

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