Emerson Fittipaldi expects a Ferrari-Red Bull battle at Zandvoort

After a win at Spa-Francorchamps, Max Verstappen heads home to Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix. We caught up with two-time F1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi to get his views on the Dutch GP, Mick Schumacher leaving Ferrari, Mercedes and more.

Dutch Grand Prix this weekend. Sergio Perez said Ferrari would do well there. Do you agree with him? Or do you think Max Verstappen is the favourite?

"If you look back, most of the Grands prix, Ferrari is the fastest car on average, through the whole year."

"Max proved last year that he did a fantastic job (in his home race)."

"When I raced, everytime I raced in my home country, like Interlagos or Rio de Janeiro, the Jacarepagua, I would give my 110 percent."

"I'm sure Max will give his 110 percent."

"But the Ferraris are extremely competitive. They need results now. They're starving for a good result. They're starving for a win."

"LeClerc is strong. Carlos is strong for sure."

"I think it would be a very, very competitive Grand Prix with a lot of challenge from Ferrari. 

"Even Checo could do well in that Red Bull car. They won last year. They'll be strong again this year."

Podium predictions for the Dutch Grand Prix?

"I think the competition would be between Red Bull and Ferrari."

"I think Mercedes are getting stronger but I don't think they're on the same level of qualifying and competing for the win."

"McLaren is getting better and Alpine is getting better too. There is still a big gap between Red Bull-Ferrari and the others."

Updated on 02/24/2024
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Looking at the standings now, do you think Red Bull and Max Verstappen can be beaten for the drivers’ and constructor’s title?

"I think it could be difficult for them. I don't think it will be easy going for them and there will be tough competition."

"When we talk about the definition of the championship, there will be pressure on both Red Bull and Ferrari."

"I think the whole team of Ferrari, the pressure that they have now is tremendous."

"Until you have not won the championship, the race is on till the last set of points have been scored."

What should be the expectations from Mercedes as the season goes on?

"I think Mercedes, if you compare the beginning of the season to the last few grands prix, they made a big improvement."

"In my opinion, they are the most improved team in the last few grands prix."

"They don't have a lot of time (for improvements) between Spa and Zandvoort but they'll run much stronger for sure."

"They are running good and improving."

"I think before the end of the season, in my opinion, they could be competing with the level of Ferrari and Red Bull. They're not yet there but they're getting close."

Who will end up with more points this season? Lewis Hamilton or George Russell?

"Both drivers are so strong."

"Hamilton is much more experienced in tough situations that can happen in any Grand Prix."

"George Russell has done a fantastic job and is gaining more experience."

"In my opinion, for points, Hamilton should be better by the end of the year."

Mick Schumacher will be leaving Ferrari’s program at the end of this year. Which team would be a good spot for him next?

"I'm very pleased to see Mick Schumacher running with Kevin Magnussen who is a very experienced driver with a lot of good results."

"And Mick Schumacher, with much less experience, in the second part of the season so far, was racing at the same speed as Magnussen. I think that will create a lot of appreciation and respect in the F1 world for Mick Schumacher."

"AlphaTauri is doing well. Franz Tost is a very good guy. He is a former racer. He's developed some amazing drivers."

"I can see if they pick up Mick because they know he has potential." 

"AlphaTauri is a competitive team and they're getting better and better. I don't know for sure what level Gasly and Tsunoda are doing. It's difficult to judge."

"I'm trying to compare if Mick goes there and it's hard to compare him to them. I know Gasly is fast but to what level?"

"If Mick joins one of the two, it could be a positive surprise there because he's been improving. In the last few grands prix, he's done really well."

Lando Norris has been scoring points in most of his races in a McLaren car that is not up to the mark. Where do you think both Norris and McLaren can improve?

"McLaren, I think since Zak Brown took over McLaren, we know there's been tremendous improvement."

"The organization, the people, they're very enthusiastic. It's a team that's extremely enthusiastic, extremely optimistic."

"I've been going to all the Grands Prix with McLaren, I feel this exuberance and energy they have, from everybody. They're really giving 110 percent to F1."

"I feel they have great potential for sure."

"Norris is getting stronger and stronger and I hope next year he's even more."

Do you think Haas could benefit by adding Daniel Ricciardo next season? Any other team which could be a great spot for him?

"I respect and admire Ricciardo. A very good driver."

"Whoever is going to replace him is going to be a very fast driver."

"I'm sure the decision (from McLaren) to replace Ricciardo with another driver, at least they think that he could match Ricciardo."

"I think he's an extremely talented driver. Very experienced in F1. We know he's in good shape."

"He's determined and I'm sure he will bring positivity to whichever F1 team he goes to."

"I would really like to wish him the best of luck and he deserves it."

"I'm sure he would bring a lot of experience to Haas."

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Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle