Max Verstappen makes surprising admission in car versus driver ability debate

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen standing on his Red Bull RB19 to celebrate his Dutch GP win.

Max Verstappen waves to the crowd after again winning.

Max Verstappen accepts his current run of success is because Red Bull have the “best car” on the grid, but that doesn’t mean he’s not doing his part towards it.

The reigning World Champion took another step closer to a third successive title when he won Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix ahead of Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly.

The victory marked Verstappen’s 11th of this season, that’s out of 13 races, and his ninth on the trot which equalled Sebastian Vettel’s record for the most consecutive race wins.

Max Verstappen: I know that a lot is related to the car

But while Verstappen acknowledges he’s able to do this because of his RB19, the car already billed by many as one of the best to have ever raced in Formula 1, he says his own performances in the car cannot be discounted.

“Of course, everyone can see and I also know that we have the best car,” he told Sky Sports, “but some weekends go a bit better than others for all different kinds of reasons but I think so far when I look at myself for every single race weekend, I’m very happy with the performance.

“I mean, how much is related to the driver, and how much is related to the car. I know that a lot is related to the car, that’s how Formula One works, but I can’t be unhappy with my performances.”

Performances that Alonso says are possible because, unlike the rest of the field, Verstappen has it within himself to be “100 percent” on it all the time.

The Dutchman agrees that it’s not just about being fast, but being consistently fast while also dealing with the pressure of fighting at the front.

“I always want to believe of course that I’m the best driver out there but I know there are a lot of other good drivers out there,” he said.

Asked to name names, he replied: “It’s very hard to say, I mean all of the young guys who came in to F1.

“At the end of the day it’s not only about being quick or doing fast lap times, there’s a lot more that comes into play when you’re fighting for a championship.

“When you are constantly under pressure, or having to deliver and being consistent, you cannot afford mistakes when it’s a very high level. It’s a whole different game and I come to learn that in the last few years.

“So it’s not always about being the best driver, it’s about how to handle all these things together with the pressure around.”

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Karun Chandhok says Sergio Perez’s results prove Max Verstappen’s case

Sky Sports pundit Karun Chandhok weighed in on the driver versus the car debate and feels Sergio Perez’s results prove that it’s not just the car, it’s also Verstappen.

While the Dutchman has 11 wins, Perez has just two and trails him by 138 points in the standings.

Only 33 ahead of Alonso in the Aston Martin, Chandhok believes Perez’s results underline “how good” Verstappen is as a driver.

“Yeah, I think that’s absolutely fair to say because yes, a car is fantastic and I think they have been a dominant force, but he could have been leading the Constructors’ Championship by himself,” said the former F1 driver.

“He’s over 125 points ahead of Checo, that’s five race victories forgetting sprints and fastest laps. But that’s five race victories, that just shows how strong he as an individual has been.

“If the car was that outstandingly brilliant ahead of everyone else, Checo would be second every time and that I think underlines how good Max has been.”

Read next: Dutch Grand Prix conclusions: Max Verstappen’s Lewis Hamilton effect; Leclerc in crisis?