Red Bull warned Verstappen may seek Mercedes move if gap remains

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Red Bull is being warned that Max Verstappen will again consider leaving for Mercedes if the performance gap doesn't close soon.

Back in January, the Dutchman surprised many after committing his future to the Anglo-Austrian team by signing a new three-year deal until the end of 2023.

That though was amid high expectations from Red Bull and particularly Honda that they would have a package capable of fighting the German manufacturer.

After the first three races of this season, however, the signs are already bleak, with the RB16 suffering from aerodynamic anomalies and Mercedes taking a considerable step forward in engine power.

“I think he is very frustrated. I mean, already after a couple of laps this season he dropped out, and what did we say? DNFs are not an option, and he has one,” Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle said of Verstappen to the Dutch version of

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“Normally Red Bull appears with a package that seems to have all the ingredients, and about halfway through the season, they let it coincide in the most impressive way.

"Once again the car seems to have a lot of potential, but they really need to pull it out. We will see it at Silverstone. I think the chassis is strong enough and Honda looks strong too, but let’s wait and see."

This year was the final chance for Verstappen to beat Sebastian Vettel and become F1's youngest world champion, a goal Red Bull had set when they promoted him in 2016.

But such is Mercedes' advantage, it looks unlikely that anyone else will challenge them before the new regulations in 2022.

And though Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton are set to be retained for another season at least, Brundle believes Max's patience is wearing thin.

“I think we'll hear some more frustrated radio messages," he said. "But his team has been really great at the pit stops and did a great job getting him to the start in Hungary and I think he really appreciates that to some extent as a kind of 'one for all, all for one'.

“But Max will also look around and think ‘how am I going to win a World Championship?’ and if Mercedes continues to participate, he’ll also be thinking: ‘how do I get into that Mercedes at some point?'”

Certainly, Verstappen's name is likely to be very near the top of the list of potential Hamilton replacements when the day comes that the Briton calls it a day.