Track back to the beginning of the 2010s when Red Bull was the fastest outfit in the F1 paddock, the relatively young team taking its fourth double title on the trot with Sebastian Vettel in 2013.
With the start of the turbo-hybrid era rules in 2014, the sport experienced a dramatic power shift as Mercedes suddenly jumped to the top of the grid with a combination of engineering prowess, driver talent and raw resources.
Verstappen believes this change was key to the German manufacturers’ success over the past decade, saying that the developmental efforts by Mercedes and fortuitous timing was the primary factor in its consecutive victories.
“To be honest with you, I think if at the end of 2013, if the regulations wouldn't have changed, I think Red Bull could have done the same, you know, if the V6 wasn't introduced," Verstappen told Autosport.
“It's just, I think in a way, it came perfect for them [Mercedes]. Of course, you know, the V6 era, they prepared very early on, and they were well equipped with a good power unit from the start. And that, of course, initially I think, really helped them a lot.”
However, Verstappen also conceded that Mercedes’ car design had proven to be a differentiator between the teams, praising his rivals’ “amazing” 2020 car and top speed.
“They have built a very fast car, which of course looks very good with its high top speed. But even in 2020 they had a great car, you really cannot ignore that.”