Former F1 driver Michael Bleekemolen thinks that, with his talent and popularity, Max Verstappen will become the new Ayrton Senna.
Given his aggressive driving style and raw speed, Verstappen has been compared to Senna a number of times since joining the F1 grid in 2015.
He’s backing those comparisons up more than ever this season, leading the title fight by 32 points after winning four of the last five races.
The Red Bull man’s having a huge impact on the sport away from the track too, shown by the fact that there were huge Dutch crowds in Austria supporting him.
Given how successful he’s being and how much support he is gaining, Bleekemolen thinks he’s going to emulate Senna in a lot of ways.
“He is enormously favoured [popular]. It is not normal; you can see that in the world press,” he told De Telegraaf.
“I think Max will become a kind of Senna in time.
“Of course, he’s been getting a lot of attention for years. The Brazilian was also like that: invincible, interesting and colourful.”
What an incredible win! 🔥 Simply an amazing job by @redbullracing and @HondaRacingF1 🙏🏻 Let’s keep this up! Insane to see the Orange Army out in full force, this one was for you 🧡 #AustrianGP 🇦🇹 pic.twitter.com/fYxAuNpBDp
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) July 4, 2021
Before this year, Verstappen had never been involved in a title fight but is now the firm favourite to be crowned World Champion at the end of the season.
He has been helped hugely by the fact that Red Bull have built a seemingly stronger car than Mercedes, winning at tracks that have been strongholds for the German team in the past.
At this point, Bleekemolen thinks the 23-year-old could win anywhere.
“It is no longer normal what is going on. It’s starting to look like he’s doing well everywhere,” he told GPFans.
“We will of course see that in the next race at Silverstone, that’s a different type of track, really, but I think he’ll go fast there as well.”
While there has never been any doubt about Verstappen’s talent, he has often been criticised in the past for making too many mistakes, particularly when trying to overtake.
Such mistakes haven’t been on display this year though, and his compatriot feels that he has reached a whole new level.
“I was thinking about it; we don’t really catch him making mistakes anymore. Those days are over. It’s all a different level he is at now,” said Bleekemolen.