• Ron Dennis is of the opinion that Max Verstappen can win the 2021 F1 championship.
• Dennis further believes that mistakes on Red Bull's part could cost the Dutchman the prize come season's end.
• Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are in a tussle for the 2021 F1 Drivers' championship.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24
McLaren Group founder and ex-team boss Ron Dennis expects Max Verstappen to become 2021 Formula 1 World Champion if he and his Red Bull team don't make costly mistakes.
Verstappen finds himself in a Championship battle for the first time as he scraps it out with seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, a driver whom Dennis introduced into Formula 1 with McLaren.
There is little to choose between the pair, with Verstappen holding a five-point cushion at the top of the standings, and Dennis believes the Dutchman will ultimately get the job done.
Dennis told Sky F1: "I have a tremendous respect for the technologists at Red Bull, and I think Honda have stabilised their engine performance very well. So I think it will be Verstappen. If it's not, it will not be because they lacked performance but because they make mistakes.
"And the question is, in what circumstances would these mistakes be made? So it will be a very colourful end of season, but I probably will back Verstappen."
Hamilton and Verstappen have certainly not been shy on track, and Monza saw their second major shunt of the season, resulting in a DNF apiece. As expected, the incident was debated intensely, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called it a tactical foul from Verstappen as the drivers collided at the opening chicane.
But Dennis believes the media are over-hyping the situation, arguing crashes will always happen between "a couple of young stags rutting".
He said: "The media hypes it up, but you can see they are constantly throwing water onto the fire. They are trying to calm things down, they are true professionals.
"In many sports, you could call it sort of a professional foul. In motor racing, the consequences of cars touching each other is hard to predict. You don't know whether one car will ride over onto the other like in the Italian Grand Prix, you don't know if you will spin off into the Armco.
"But the reality is these two drivers are absolutely professional, they know what they are doing and they know getting into the lead early in a race is critical, and so that's when they really take risks. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn't, and the one thing both of them doesn't want to show the other is that they will back off, that they will be intimidated. So it's a couple of young stags rutting, it's as simple as that."
Asked if Hamilton will be relishing Verstappen's challenge, Dennis replied: "Nobody likes losing, so he won't be at all happy about being behind the game.