Heady praise from Robert Doornbos who has likened his countryman, Max Verstappen, to football legend Lionel Messi, saying the Red Bull driver is the “Messi of motorsport”.
It doesn’t come bigger in football than Barcelona star, Messi.
The winner of six FIFA Ballon d’Or, even today while still playing Messi is considered a legend around the world.
Verstappen, at least according to Doornbos, has what it takes to fill a similar role in the world of motorsport.
“Max Verstappen is the Messi of motorsport,” GrandPrix247.com quotes him as having told Gassan magazine.
“Once in a decade a super talent like Max comes by. Someone who can do so much at such a young age is unique.”
But while Messi has already proven himself on the big stage, three-time a World Cup finalist, Verstappen has yet to challenge for a F1 World title.
Verstappen, though, holds several records in Formula 1 as the youngest-ever driver to line up on the grid, youngest podium finisher and youngest grand prix winner too. He claimed that record at the 2016 Spanish GP.
The 22-year-old has eight grand prix wins on the board and is hoping 2020 will see him finally take on Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton for the Drivers’ Championship.
Doornbos says that will depend on the package Red Bull-Honda deliver this season.
“If you think something is impossible, Max proves otherwise,” Doornbos continued.
“He has proven that he can rise above his material.
“But if the power isn’t there, compared to Ferrari’s or Mercedes’ equipment, then it becomes tricky.
“The chassis and engine of his car must be of excellent quality for him to win there.”