Karun Chandhok: Max Verstappen is a ‘once in a generation talent’ in Formula 1

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen celebrates victory. Japan October 2022.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen celebrates winning the race and his second World title. Japan October 2022.

Ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok very much considers Max Verstappen to be one of the elite generational Formula 1 talents.

Verstappen secured his second World Championship in succession with a dominant victory at the Japanese Grand Prix, confirming himself as a two-time World Champion with four rounds of the 2022 season still to go.

With that achievement he tied Fernando Alonso in a couple of departments, the pair now both two-time champs and each the holder of 32 grand prix victories.

Alonso is one of the drivers who Chandhok believes comes along once in a generation, and he feels that Verstappen also belongs in that category.

“I think we’ve seen a different Max,” Chandhok told Sky Sports F1 at the Japanese GP. “I think the shackles have come off from last year.

“I think those drives we saw at places like Spa and Monza where he was considered, he didn’t go for those half gaps that we saw him go for in the past for example, and he just picked his way through the field. And he won, they were equally as impressive as the wins he had like today, dominating from the front.

“And listen, he is a once in a generation talent like Lewis [Hamilton], like Fernando, like Michael [Schumacher], like [Ayrton] Senna, he is, we’re seeing it.

“We’re very lucky to see Lewis and Verstappen going head-to-head, because we don’t often get to see that at the peak of their abilities.”

Verstappen had a huge helping hand in securing his second title, as Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez pressurised Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc into a mistake on the last lap at Suzuka at the final chicane.

Judged to have left the track and gained an advantage, Leclerc received a five-second time penalty post-race, dropping him from P2 to P3 behind Perez, thus confirming Verstappen as champion.

Max Verstappen scratching head next to Sergio Perez. Suzuka October 2022.

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert believes that Perez, even if he cannot hit the heights of drivers like Verstappen and Hamilton, is playing a vital role for Red Bull nonetheless.

“I think Sergio is definitely a big part of the future of this team,” Herbert claimed. “Because he’s grown so much this season, he’s able to grab those wins, to grab a pole position as well. He’s getting stronger.

“Okay he’s not doing it as we always say with someone like Lewis or Max, it’s every time they get in the car. He hasn’t been able to achieve that. Yet, it’s a good fit for the team and the Constructors’.”

Read more: ‘No doubt’ Max Verstappen has talent to challenge Hamilton, Schumacher records