Max Verstappen “would fit in” at Mercedes; Red Bull “careless mistake” noted

Mercedes named as a "good alternative" if Max Verstappen opts to quit Red Bull

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park,
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing on the grid. Formula 1 World…

Mercedes are a “very, very good alternative” for Max Verstappen, claims Ralf Schumacher.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has named Red Bull driver as the No1 option on a four-man shortlist to replace Lewis Hamilton, who will go to Ferrari next year.

Verstappen is contracted to Red Bull until 2028 but, amid the internal controversy at F1’s dominant team, it has emerged that he can activate a contractual clause to quit early.

However, Verstappen has so far pledged allegiance to the team who he has won the past three F1 championships with.

"Max Verstappen speaks German, and therefore Mercedes is a very, very good alternative for him,” Schumacher told Sky.

“And he would also fit in well, especially his personality. But it's not that far yet. “And by the way: theoretically he has to first get out of the contract.

“Helmut Marko could of course do that too, because his contract is basically linked to Max Verstappen.

“I also don't think they would stand in his way at Red Bull if he wanted to leave."

Verstappen won the first two grands prix of 2024 to immediate begin his quest for a fourth title in a row.

But a rare and unexpected retirement from the F1 Australian Grand Prix last weekend represented the first on-track chink in Red Bull’s armour.

“Of course it was a small thing, of course it was a coincidence,” Schumacher said about Verstappen’s DNF.

“But it also shows that this whole discussion about team boss Christian Horner is not leaving the team unscathed.

“There is talk of a careless mistake when screwing the brakes together, but of course we don't know anything more precise.

"What we know for sure is that the team is still pretty divided, that there are tensions with Max's father, and that Max is thinking about an alternative."

Verstappen said about Mercedes’ interest in Australia: “It doesn’t have any impact on me of what I would do or whatever, but I mean, it’s always nice to hear that.

“But of course, Toto and I, we had our little moments, but that’s normal between two teams as well, battling, I guess, for challenges, but the respect has always been there.

“But yeah, from my side, it doesn’t change anything.”

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