Max Verstappen is regarded by several people in the Formula 1 paddock as one of the greatest of motorsport. The Red Bull Racing driver will take one dominant victory after another in 2023 and can break another record in Monza next weekend by taking his tenth victory in a row. Lewis Hamilton does not think the performance of the Dutchman is special and states that such performances have been shown before in the past. At the Race Café table, it leads to the question of whether Verstappen is indeed so much better than Hamilton.
Driver Nicky Catsburg and analysts Jack Plooij and Robert Doornbos have no doubt that Verstappen is currently the better driver, but Catsburg does not know whether the difference with Hamilton is so huge now. However, Plooij sees it differently. “He is head and shoulders above the rest at the moment,” says the former pit reporter in the Race Café. ‘But Lewis (Hamilton, ed.) also knew that time, make no mistake about that. He’s not a pancake, that Mr. Hamilton. In his younger years he was as good as Max, I think. Only not anymore. He’s in his twilight years and Max is at his best.’
Verstappen can still get better
With the high level that Verstappen has shown all year, it is hard to imagine that the two-time world champion can get even better. However, the Dutchman is only 25 years old and, according to Plooij, Verstappen can still grow. ‘I think so yes. He is getting older and more sensible,’ says the analyst, who immediately receives support from Doornbos.
“He surprises the team every time. Last weekend he amazed both Horner and Marko by showing how he can deliver under pressure. He just stands talking to the king on the grid, makes another joke, sits down and then does his thing. And that flawlessly! How easy was it to make a mistake in Zandvoort last weekend?’, the former driver wonders aloud. Plooij agrees with his colleague, but also wants to emphasize the role of his engineer. Don’t underestimate Gianpiero Lambiase either. The collaboration between the two was brilliant in that race (Zandvoort, ed.).’
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