Max Verstappen now ‘finest driver of this era’ after eliminating final weakness

Oliver Harden
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen laughs as Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton looks on.

Max Verstappen laughs as Lewis Hamilton looks on.

F1 commentator Peter Windsor has hailed Max Verstappen as the greatest driver of the current era after eliminating his final weakness against Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.

Verstappen enjoyed the most dominant season ever produced by an F1 driver in 2023, easing to a third successive World Championship with a record 19 wins from 22 races.

Ten of those victories came consecutively, with the Dutchman unbeaten between Miami in May and Monza in September and beating former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 record of nine in a row.

Max Verstappen has made this F1 era his own

Verstappen has now won 44 of the last 66 races stretching back to the start of his maiden-title winning campaign in 2021 with Lewis Hamilton, his rival from that season, without a race victory for two full seasons.

Former Ferrari star Eddie Irvine recently declared the Hamilton era of F1 over, claiming the Mercedes driver’s hopes of winning a record eighth title have faded.

And 1992 title-winning Williams team manager Windsor believes Verstappen is in the process of painting an era orange after addressing his last major weakness – throttle application out of slow corners, a key trait of Perez – against his Red Bull team-mate.

Asked during a stream on his YouTube channel if Verstappen stands as the finest driver of the modern era, he said: “Yes.

“If Max had started his career in Formula 1 with Williams and had then stayed at Williams throughout his career, I’m not saying he wouldn’t still be brilliant – but would he still be the same Max Verstappen in terms of his maturity, the way he thinks, the way he operates, what he wants from the car as he is now?

“Of course he wouldn’t.

“That’s the reason he’s so good now, because this is his era. It’s not actually Lewis’s era, is it? He hasn’t really been able to enjoy this era at all.

It’s not really Charles [Leclerc’s] era. It’s Max’s era, so absolutely he is the finest Formula 1 racer of this era if that’s how you want to put it.

“It’s very difficult to fault Max now, isn’t it? recommends

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“I said [in 2022] that I felt that Perez’s feel for traction and the back end of a car, applying power, was one thing that Max needed to improve and that’s something obviously that Perez showed out of slow corners at Baku, Monaco, other circuits.

“I think Max has pretty much done that now. I think Max is pretty much with Perez [in that area].

“I think that’s why Perez was struggling more at the back end of 2023 than he was in the previous year, because Max has now covered that little base as well.

“He’s even better than he was in that area, probably as good as Perez now, so wow.”

Another title triumph in 2024 would see Verstappen join Vettel as the only driver in history to win his first four Championships in successive years.

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