Honda boss: Verstappen ‘very similar’ to Senna

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen Red Bull

Red Bull expect to lure away 50 Mercedes staff by end of recruitment drive.

Honda F1’s managing director Masashi Yamamoto sees similarities between Max Verstappen and Ayrton Senna.

Yamamoto even thinks the Dutchman could surpass Senna’s Monaco Grand Prix wins tally of six in the future – even though he has only just bagged his first.

Verstappen’s commanding victory came after being the beneficiary of pole-sitter Charles Leclerc’s inability to start the race, so he was able to lead from lights to flag and take a key win for Red Bull that took the team to the top of the Constructors’ Championship and propelled Verstappen to the top of the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in his career.

It was also Honda’s first win around Monte Carlo for 29 years, as an engine supplier or factory team. With Honda powering much of Senna’s success in his career, Yamamoto was quick to draw comparisons between the two talents.

“Honda won the Monaco Grand Prix six times in a row from 1987 to 1992, five of those victories coming from Ayrton Senna,” Yamamoto said on a Honda F1 personal blog, quoted by RacingNews365.

“Coincidentally, this is the first time for Honda to win in Monaco since Senna, but I always see an overlap between Verstappen and Ayrton Senna, who is a very special driver for Honda because his driving is very similar to Senna’s.

“At just 23 years of age, he still has the potential to match and surpass Senna’s record of six Monaco victories and I’m delighted to have helped him take that step.”

Yamamoto added the win in Monaco provided a boost to team spirit within the company, who continue to put their all into the sport ahead of their departure at the end of 2021.

Christian Horner is pleased to see the team competing at the front of the field, the Red Bull team principal saying “it’s about time Toto Wolff had something to do” as his team put pressure on Mercedes, with Honda playing their part in propelling the team forward.

“Winning at Monaco, especially in such a difficult race, requires a combination of driver skill, team race strategy, speed in the pits and the power and drivability of the power unit,” Yamamoto explained.

“So winning here is a real confidence booster for Red Bull Racing Honda and a great morale-booster for the whole team as we fight for the championship in the long and difficult season ahead, starting with Azerbaijan. It was an exceptional victory for everyone.”

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