Max Verstappen proposed that him and Lewis Hamilton “swap” their cars to determine if Red Bull is truly getting closer to Mercedes in qualifying.
During the Saturday post qualifying press conference Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were asked if Red Bull had gotten closer to Mercedes in qualifying since the engine “party mode” has been banned. This led into an interesting exchange between the two.
“I guess we’ll only find out if we swap cars once, both drivers, and then we can compare but I don’t know,” said Verstappen.
“I don’t think a lot has changed to be honest before the rule change and now, so no, that’s just a bit of a guess but I think you can clearly see that it hasn’t brought us a lot closer or further away.
“Before the rule change,” Max continued before being cut off by Hamilton.
“What do we need to swap for,” asked Hamilton.
“We swap cars, you go into mine, I go into yours then we know the comparison,” said Verstappen.
“[Comparison] of what,” Lewis asked again.
“Of the difference between the cars if they actually have become faster in the race compared to qualifying,” answered the Dutch driver.
“I don’t know. Maybe we can do like a private test day or something.”
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Hamilton then went on explain if he thinks Red Bull has gotten closer after the “party mode” ban.
“I don’t think so, from my understanding,” said the Briton.
“It’s not changed anything in that respect, but in qualifying they had a good upgrade in the last race or the one before that and they have been getting closer and closer throughout the weekend, so this is the closest that we’ve been.
“We’ve not developed our car or brought any upgrades to our car for a bit of time now so… But yeah, hopefully it continues on this trend and we get closer as the races go.
“And then when we get to the race, they were a lot closer in the last race, so I was having to seriously push to keep Max at a distance, [to] not [let him] get into my DRS zone, so we should have a good race, particularly in the next six,” concluded the six-time champion.
Mercedes quickly posted a response to Verstappen on social media.
“Max, you can always call us if you want to test a Mercedes,” the team wrote on Instagram.