Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger has said that watching Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen in action evokes memories of Ayrton Senna.
Berger, who was team-mates with the iconic legend at McLaren in the early nineties, has been in awe of some of the overtakes he has seen the Dutchman make, and believes he has some very Senna-esque qualities to the way in which he performs.
“In my time, Ayrton Senna was by far the best driver, and maybe he was the best driver of all time.
“Now, Max Verstappen has amazed me with his overtaking skills, especially in the first lap.
“Other drivers regularly damage their front wing, but not Verstappen. He is from the same mould as Senna.”
Verstappen became the youngest ever winner of a F1 race at the Spanish Grand Prix last year, on his debut with Red Bull, who had promoted him to their first team from sister squad Scuderia Toro Rosso part way through the season. Whilst his sublime driving in the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix in soaking wet conditions, made it look easy whilst others struggled to stay on track, and earned him respect the world over.
It is this sort of display that sees the 19-year-old talked about in the same sentence as Senna, and at times like that, you cannot disagree with this analogy. There is no denying Verstappen is an exciting driver with plenty of potential to go far, comparing him to someone of Senna’s pedigree so soon however, is perhaps a bit premature.
Berger’s comments did however come prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix, where Verstappen took out team-mate Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap in a heavy-handed move, but even the greats made mistakes from time to time.
This season has been a difficult one for the Dutchman so far, the Red Bull driver having been plagued with reliability issues that have seen him retire from five out of the eleven races contested in 2017, seriously hampering his title hopes before the season has barely got underway.
This sort of setback will be a good test of Verstappen’s character, and will allow us to see whether he has what it takes to truly be considered one of the best drivers of our time in the future, for part of being a great champion is to overcome adversity when the odds are truly stacked against you.