Max Verstappen believes Fernando Alonso has a key weapon in his armoury that Lewis Hamilton can’t quite match.
The reigning World Champion has weighed in on how he feels Fernando Alonso has extra mental capacity while racing that Lewis Hamilton doesn’t.
Speaking to British publication The Times, Verstappen singled out the 2005 and 2006 F1 World Champion as having the natural gift of being able to think about things in a more in-depth fashion while also threading a car around at 200mph.
“I do like to think that having extra capacity is a big advantage in F1,” Verstappen said. “You cannot train that kind of thing. Only a few drivers have it.”
Pressed as to who he was referring to, Verstappen replied: “For me, definitely Fernando [Alonso] — I can feel that, from the way he operates in the car, picking up on little things, showing this extra capacity — still driving at the limit but thinking about other stuff as well.”
An example of this is about how a driver may be on the radio to their race engineer.
“You are talking to the engineer but I am also hearing a pit stop by a Ferrari car,” he said.
“I asked, ‘Did they box? I heard that on the radio.’ But if you are fully focused on your driving, you probably won’t pick it up because you are fully focused on his voice.”
Pointed out to him that he had not said the same for Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen said: “No, because Fernando stands out more with that. People will probably start hating me for [saying] that, but just that’s how I see it.”
Max Verstappen: I don’t know how long winning will last
While Verstappen is currently enjoying life at the head of the Formula 1 field as Red Bull sweep all before them, the Dutch driver has hinted that he’s in the sport for a good time, not a long time, and that he might walk away at the end of his current contract – meaning the end of 2028.
Rumours have suggested that Verstappen could even choose to walk away earlier if Red Bull slip away from the front of the field, and he was asked about the targets he has set himself for the future and his confidence in Red Bull to keep doing what they’re doing.
“I just want to keep on doing what I’m doing,” he said.
“But of course, I need to have a good car for that. But I don’t know how long that will last. But hopefully for a while. I constantly want to try and improve myself every single year.
“Sometimes, of course, that works out a bit better than other races. But I think I’ve said it many times, my goal was to win a championship and I did that. Now it’s about just enjoying the moment you’re in. Of course, I try to win as many races as I can, but I’ve never really been someone who was trying to break records or whatever.
“It’s also important to have a good time. And hopefully, you know, work with the people I’m working with for a very long time as well.”