Expected to rival Lewis Hamilton for the tag of best there’s ever been, Sebastian Vettel says one cannot compare Max Verstappen to the seven-time World Champion as there’s “not one formula”.
Hamilton and Mercedes dominated Formula 1 for seven years as the Briton won six Drivers’ Championship titles from 2013 to 2020. He broke one record after another to sit on 103 race wins, and 104 pole positions.
Now it’s Verstappen’s turn to write his name in the sport’s record books.
Sebastian Vettel: There’s not one formula, one recipe to success
Last time out at the Italian Grand Prix the 25-year-old wrote his name in the sport’s annals as he clinched a 10th successive race win, thereby breaking Vettel’s record of nine on the trot.
In doing so Red Bull also extended their record run to 15 wins with the team on course for a historic season’s whitewash.
And that’s just the beginning of the records that could fall to Verstappen and his team this season, leading to fans and pundits asking where Verstappen sits amongst F1’s greatest drivers.
Vettel told Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle that it’s impossible to rank drivers.
“The beauty of it is they’re all different,” said the four-time World Champion. “You cannot compare Max to Lewis, there’s not one formula, one recipe to success.
“Lewis was rated as the best there’s ever been, Max is demonstrating at the minute that he’s pulling off something that’s never been done before.
“I think Max is a great driver. He’s able to adapt very quickly. He’s able to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. He’s learned and understood the sport, and he will get better in that regard and happy to go racing – that’s what he loves.”
Verstappen’s success this season, and the dominant way in which he’s gone about it, has led to complaints from some that he’s making Formula 1 boring.
The Dutchman has made it clear he doesn’t care, saying he’s motivated by winning and winning by the biggest margin possible.
Vettel believes he deserves more credit for what he’s achieving with Red Bull as he storms towards a third successive World title.
“It’s a state of mind more than anything else,” he told his fellow former driver. “I mean, so many things need to come together for the run he had now, which is incredible.
“People say he’s got a dominant car, he might have, you know he has a very good car. But also for the team, the job they’re pulling off every weekend, it’s incredible.
“And you see other drivers, they’re just not as consistent.
“Everybody should get up and applaud. I know that people don’t like to see the same guy winning and so on. With Michael [Schumacher] it was like that, and with Lewis, and with myself for a short time.
“You cannot appreciate the excellence enough.”