Mark Webber thinks Max Verstappen can be a match for Lewis Hamilton in qualifying, but still has a little way to go before matching him on race day.
The 2020 campaign was Verstappen’s sixth full season in Formula 1 and, just like in 2019, it resulted in a third-place finish in the standings behind the Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Red Bull’s mission to make Verstappen the youngest World Champion ever is now over, but the Dutchman was still the biggest, and often sole, threat to the Silver Arrows in the revised 17-race schedule.
Verstappen added two more Formula 1 wins to his tally in 2020 and just his third career podium with P1 at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
But, Webber thinks the Red Bull man is on Hamilton’s level when it comes to qualifying and not the race, yet.
“Max did a very, very, very good job,” Webber told Dutch publication Formule 1 magazine.
“He is in the final phase of fine-grinding his craftsmanship, if I may put it that way.
“Is he already Lewis Hamilton on Saturday, in that he is the same as Lewis in the qualifications? Yes.
“Is he already Lewis on Sunday? No, he is not. But that’s normal.”
YES BOYS. P🥉for the season! A big thank you to @redbullracing and @HondaRacingF1 for all their hard work. Let’s continue to push forward next year💪 Also a big thanks to all fans for the support 👏 Now it’s time to unwind a bit. Stay safe everyone 🙏🏻 #FIAPrizeGiving2020 pic.twitter.com/A1lobyLYpA
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) December 18, 2020
Out of all the problems a Formula 1 driver can have in their career, Webber has described Max’s as “luxury” ones to have and also thinks that applies to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
He continued: “There aren’t many drivers who get into such a situation: that you can dominate for a while and have the peace and regularity to do so without becoming complacent.
“That is experience. That is what he has to learn.
“He and Charles Leclerc, by the way. They are the hot shots coming up.”
Verstappen will be hoping the arrival of Sergio Perez will provide even more opportunity to attack Mercedes in races in 2021 with a greater chance of two Red Bull cars being in the mix on a more consistent basis.