If Max Verstappen is to put up a more sustainable title challenge next year then Lewis Hamilton must know how to take advantage of his rival’s main weakness – and Red Bull chief Helmut Marko has told the world what it is.
Mercedes are expected to continue their dominance with Hamilton looking to pull clear of Michael Schumacher’s seven Drivers’ Championships.
Many inside the Red Bull garage are confident that 2021 can be the year the F1 power struggle sways in their favour.
Verstappen, 23, has been knocking on the door for many year and he is ready to fight Hamilton for the top gong.
But Helmut is worried about one aspect of the Dutchman’s driving, one he inherited from his former motorsport dad Jos.
“If he loses control, he becomes impatient and that is his weak point,” Marko said. “And sometimes that Jos stance of putting your head through the wall comes up.
“That’s getting better and better, but that’s not an easy character trait, I’d say.”
Verstappen is often a hot-heat in the cockpit but he has matured a lot over recent seasons.
“In private, he is a friendly, well-behaved young man who is averse to ego,” Marko added.
“But in a racing car he is a different person. It’s very impressive that he can talk on any part of the track.
“While most drivers are waiting for a straight section. In a fast corner, they only focus on making that corner and you can hear how heavy they breathe.
“It’s not with Max. When he overtakes or takes the lead, he always has good comments. And he also has a good sense of humour.”
Verstappen has recently addressed his own behaviour, saying: “That’s just the way I am. I’m just straightforward and I’m not fake.
“If it sucks, it sucks. If it’s good, it’s good. And that’s what you’ll hear.”
Meanwhile, former top designer Gary Anderson does not reckon Verstappen would be able to outdrive Williams ace George Russell – never mind Hamilton.
“I think it’s very very difficult for a driver to flatter the car,” says Anderson in his review of 2020 for The Race.
“You have to have the tools underneath you that suit your driving skills. The days of picking a car up by the scruff of the neck and doing a lap time the car can’t do are long gone I believe.”