How ‘new breed’ Max Verstappen differs from Schumacher and Hamilton

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) smiles during the press conference at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) smiles during the press conference at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.

1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill says the “new breed” Max Verstappen comes from a background where he was moulded as a racer from a young age by his father Jos, a figure which Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton did not have.

Max’s upbringing has been well-documented with Jos setting about learning from the mistakes of his career to create a path to racing greatness for his son.

And it sure has been successful, with Verstappen having secured his third World Championship in as many seasons over the Qatar Grand Prix weekend, crowning that achievement with a further dominant victory on Grand Prix Sunday.

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Schumacher and Hamilton sit atop the Formula 1 mountain as the only seven-time World Champions, but with Verstappen now on three at only 26 years old as he continues to obliterate the competition, it would be brave, and perhaps unwise, to discount him from challenging for World title number eight down the line.

And Hill would discuss how Verstappen, who has grown from his “volatile and quick” state as a 17-year-old F1 rookie, has had the Formula 1 experience of Jos in his corner guiding him from his early years, which both Schumacher and Hamilton did not have in their early days.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Hill said: “He’s a new breed of driver, or a relatively new breed driver whereby they started very young and of course in Max’s case, his father was a Formula 1 driver, so he had a Formula 1 driver with all his experience, Jos Verstappen, coaching him and giving him the right direction.

“Michael Schumacher lived in a go-kart track, but his dad wasn’t a famous Formula 1 driver. He started very young as well, as did Lewis Hamilton, but Max has come from a very early age being groomed in the right way, coached in the right way to understand what is required and he’s got the most extraordinary talent. recommends

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“He’s got a good head on his shoulders and he’s mature. He’s come into Formula 1 aged 17, before he could even drive a road car and was volatile and quick, and he’s managed to combine that youth and speed with experience now.

“And I think in the interview he gave at the weekend with Karun Chandhok, he was very clear that he was admitting that he understands now what the job is better, so he’s just getting better and better all the time.”

With Verstappen now on 14 grand prix wins for F1 2023, he is on course to topple his own record of 15 wins in a single season, with five rounds of the campaign remaining.

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