Verstappen rises above everyone: “There will always be exceptional drivers, he is one of them”

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David Coulthard thinks it will be difficult for the competition to beat Max Verstappen. The Dutchman is undergoing a flying start to the 2023 season. In essence, this is a continuation of his racing form from the past two seasons, where he has won 25 of 44 races. According to former driver Coulthard, it is not surprising that Verstappen is still in such top shape. “He has a real fighter mentality,” he tells TOI.

During the opening weekend in Bahrain, Verstappen again crossed the finish line first. Teammate Sergio Pérez took second place, making it a dream start to the season for Red Bull Racing. It was difficult for the competition to keep up with the two drivers. Where there was already an eleven second gap between Verstappen and his teammate, there was almost a fifty second gap between the Dutchman and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, who finished in fourth place.

Coulthard: ‘Verstappen is an exceptional driver’

According to Coulthard, Verstappen is well on his way to winning his third championship, but he still believes there will be several winners during the season. “There is a lot of talent on the grid, but Verstappen rises above everyone else,” Coulthard said in an interview. There will always be exceptional drivers, he is one of them. Together with his perseverance and his talent, he has that little bit more compared to other drivers.’

Coulthard has known the Dutchman from an early age, having raced against his father, Jos Verstappen. “Verstappen’s upbringing is clearly reflected in his way of racing,” explains the former driver. “It is clear that he has a lot of discipline and he is very straightforward. Those are good qualities to have in the racing world.’

Competition not yet completely wiped out: ‘There are opportunities’

Although the Brit still sees potential in the competition from Red Bull, he does not believe that Mercedes, Ferrari or even Aston Martin have a chance at the world title this year. “During the qualifying session, all teams were closer to the Red Bulls, but during the race they could not be kept up,” says Coulthard, who still sees opportunities for the competition in view of the development phase. ‘But there is still a lot to tinker with and adjust, maybe time can be gained somewhere.’

Mercedes is very open about their struggle with the W14. ‘I think that’s admirable,’ says Coulthard, ‘but something needs to be done about it. Mercedes must now find a solution before they are completely out of the fight for the title. In addition, the former driver also looks at Ferrari. ‘They make too many mistakes,’ he concludes. “A winning team makes the fewest mistakes, so that’s what Ferrari needs to focus on now.”

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