Gossip Grip: Who is the next who?


By Kunal Shah and Mithila Mehta | Max Verstappen, Formula 1’s newest sensation and obsession, is hailed as the new “Baby Vettel”. This is happening when Sebastian Vettel is still known as the “Baby Schumi”, so will Verstappen grow up to be the new “Baby Schumi”, pushing Vettel to become… the “Baby Lauda”? Serious matters these, let’s discuss.

In this whole “who is the next who?” game, the most raw deal has been handed to Daniel Ricciardo, who is now often labeled as the next Mark Webber. It seems only a coincidence that both are Australian, having raced in the shadow of a Formula 1 prodigy.

Red Bull Racing’s promotion of Max Verstappen and helping him win in Spain was a masterstroke to keep the “future World Champion” in their garage. While Ferrari and Mercedes would be wondering how to lure this talented lad to their cars, the bigger wonder for them should be “how does RBR produce one champion driver after another ever so often?” The manufacturer teams lag in this regard when it comes to RBR’s Junior Driver Program, or as we named it recently, Ferrari’s Young Driver Program. Vettel in 2015, Ricciardo in 2017? Verstappen in 2019?

Talk about some serious father-son payback, we predict another “Rush” movie!

The last few years have been strange for Kimi Raikkonen. It’s like he’s there on the racetrack every Sunday but almost never on the podium. In a rare appearance in Spain, he shared the podium with Verstappen and earned himself the unique distinction of having raced with both generations of the Verstappens. If Max races as long as Kimi, is there a chance that he might share the podium someday with Robin Raikkonen? Talk about some serious father-son payback, we predict another “Rush” movie!

Niki Lauda’s labeling of Max Verstappen as the “talent of the century” must have had Lewis Hamilton absolutely furious with Lauda for two reasons. First, for breaking their vodka-fuelled bromance. Second, for his blunt-as-ever and immediate reaction of blaming Hamilton for the twin-Mercedes accident in Spain. Lauda would’ve almost influenced the FIA Stewards! But Lewis Hamilton should actually be worried. It took him nearly eight months to finally win a race. And that too, his win in Monaco was a gift from RBR. Maybe RBR were eager to pay off their race win debt from Spain in a jiffy!

As Le Mans has refused interest in hosting a Formula 1 race, there’s suddenly chatter about the Indy Car series, especially after Formula 1’s almost-rejected Alexander Rossi won on debut. While Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso are keen to participate in the all-American open-wheel racing series, Lewis Hamilton has denied interest outright. But that’s the strange part – how could Hamilton deny bracing something that is all-American?

And finally, Ron Dennis issued tall claims that McLaren-Honda is best equipped to dethrone Mercedes as the Constructors’ Champions. However, we still think that the “rapid relief” pain balm of Sensodyne might come handy for the team from Woking and their former World Champion driver pair. After all, few teams on the grid manage sponsor integrations as well as McLaren.

Mithila Mehta is a travel blogger and, well, loves Formula 1. She co-hosts the Inside Line F1 Podcast, you can also read her travel stories on www.miss-wanderlust.com or follow her on Twitter – @mith_m
Kunal Shah is a former single-seater racer who works in the sports business industry. He pens his thoughts on F1 on his personal blog www.kunalsf1blog.com and co-hosts the Inside Line F1 Podcast. Catch him on Twitter too – @kunalashah
About the Inside Line F1 Podcast: this is a weekly podcast that aims to add a funny touch to an otherwise serious sport of Formula 1. It’s nearing 150 episodes of production with nearly 100,000 listeners each year. The podcast is available across popular listening and streaming platforms such as iTunes, Sound Cloud, YouTube, Mix Cloud, Daily Motion, etc.

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