Gerhard Berger has placed Max Verstappen right at the top of drivers he has ever seen race in Formula 1, having long said former team-mate Ayrton Senna was the greatest ever driver.
Berger, a 10-time race winner in F1 in his own right, had said last year that Senna and Verstappen were “unique” and the two best drivers he had ever seen race, but now, Verstappen is “even better” and “has skills that I haven’t even seen yet.”
The Dutchman took his third World Championship in record-breaking fashion in 2023, leading over 1,000 laps over the course of the season and taking 19 race victories from a possible 22, both all-time Formula 1 records.
Gerhard Berger puts Max Verstappen at the top of all-time F1 driver list
Berger has long spoken glowingly of three-time World Champion Senna, having shared the McLaren garage with him for three seasons and two of his title-winning years.
While he still placed the great Brazilian as the best ever before, he admitted that the way Verstappen has been driving has had him questioning his own estimates.
“For me, he was the best there has ever been,” Berger said of Senna in an interview with Kronen Zeitung, quoted by Motorsport-Magazin.
“But if I just look at the statistics and the hard facts, then of course you have to put Michael Schumacher first and Lewis Hamilton second.”
However, given the direction of traffic in recent seasons, Berger elaborated further and explained that the current World Champion has even potentially gone beyond his former McLaren team-mate.
He added: “I said before that Senna was the best driver of all time. I have to say, I think Max Verstappen is even better now. He has skills that I haven’t even seen yet.
“It’s also interesting to see that there is such perfection. On the one hand, the team didn’t have any technical failures, they didn’t mess up any pit stops and on the other hand, a driver who drives at the limit like that didn’t make any mistakes.”
Verstappen is already hot favourite to retain the World Championship for a fourth consecutive season before a wheel has been turned, having scored more than double the points of his team-mate and nearest rival Sergio Perez in 2023.