Fernando Alonso convinced he ‘can’ match Max Verstappen’s ‘underestimated’ achievement

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso goes over to congratulates Max Verstappen for winning the Dutch GP.

Fernando Alonso congratulates Max Verstappen on his Dutch GP victory.

Fernando Alonso believes the key to Max Verstappen’s success is his ability to be at “100 percent” more often than his rivals, but that doesn’t mean the Spaniard can’t achieve similar success himself.

Verstappen continued his romp toward a record-breaking Formula 1 season when he claimed his third successive Dutch Grand Prix victory on Sunday, crossing the line three seconds ahead of Alonso after a late rain stoppage bunched up the field.

Although Alonso considered attacking at the restart where, for at least one lap he had better grip and pace than Verstappen, he opted not to risk a good points haul and a first podium since Canada.

Fernando Alonso: I do believe that I can do good as well

Verstappen crossed the line in first place to secure his ninth win on the trot with the Red Bull driver equalling Sebastian Vettel’s record for the most successive F1 wins.

The Dutchman will have the record in his sights on Sunday at Monza where he’ll also be chasing win number 12 for this season as he moves closer to breaking his own record for the most wins in a campaign.

And all this while cruising toward a third World title with his advantage over Sergio Perez up to 138 points.

Put to him that what Verstappen is ‘operating on a level separate from anyone else’ and could he or Lewis Hamilton challenge the Dutchman in ‘the same car’, Alonso told the media including PlanetF1.com: “Yeah, it is underestimated sometimes what Max is achieving.

“I think to win in such a dominant matter in any of the professional sports, it is so complicated. So to be at the same level of him, obviously, we have a lot of self-confidence, drivers in general, so I do believe that I can do as good as well.

“I don’t know about Lewis, but me, yes! And Lewis as well, and everyone.

“I think you need to enter in a mood, in a state that you are connected with a car. I think on days like today, I felt that I was at my best and have been giving 100% of what I felt and my abilities on a racing car, but maybe in Spa I was not at that level or in Austria or something like that.

“So you always feel that there is room to improve and you are not 100% happy with yourself, as I am today.”

But what separates Verstappen from the rest, Alonso says: “Max is achieving that 100% more often than us at the moment, than any of the drivers, so that’s why he’s dominating.”

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Max Verstappen credits Baku lessons for step forward

Winning from Miami to Zandvoort, Verstappen was asked about what he felt was the key to his successful run with the Dutchman putting it down to lessons learned in Baku, the last time he finished off the top step of the podium.

Although he wouldn’t go into detail as to what he discovered at the Azerbaijan race with regards to the set-up of his RB19, he says that was the turning point for him.

“I think I learned a lot from the race in Baku, how to do some things with the car, how to set it up,” he said. “Of course, I didn’t win that race in Baku but actually I really tried a lot of stuff and different tools in the car.

“That’s why throughout the race it was a little bit inconsistent, but at one point, I got into a good rhythm with what I found. But then I damaged my tyres a bit too much. But it was like ‘OK, that’s quite interesting for the next races’.

“And I basically implemented that and it has helped me on every track.”

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