Watch out Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher… ‘the era of Max’ has arrived

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen celebrates yet another P1. Australia April 2023

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen celebrates yet another P1. Australia April 2023

Max Verstappen could match Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton’s record of seven World titles as the “era is Max” has arrived.

That’s according to former F1 drivers Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill.

Winning the 2021 Drivers’ Championship with a last-lap-of-the-season pass on Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen and Red Bull hit their stride last season with the Dutchman winning 15 of the season’s 22 races on his way to a second World title.

This year he’s the favourite to retain the crown, the Dutchman winning two of the opening three races to take a 15-point advantage over his team-mate Sergio Perez.

Herbert believes the 25-year-old is the perfect package and sees no reason why the driver, contracted to Red Bull through to 2028, can’t match Schumacher and Hamilton’s record for seven World titles.

“It not only has to do with talent, but also with character,” the three-time grand prix winner told Formule1 Magazine.

“Like Michael, Max has all the skills a top driver needs. Such guys are aggressive, know what they want and need. They are the boss. And there is nothing wrong with that.”

“To be honest, after Michael’s five titles at Ferrari, I never thought I would ever experience something like this again,” he added.

“But then suddenly there was Lewis, and now we have Max. The counter is already at two and things look good for the future. The chances for Max to match Lewis and Michael are very good.”

‘This year, next year and maybe the years after that, the era is Max’

His former rival and 1996 World Champion Hill agrees that Verstappen is “made to win”.

In fact the Briton’s only complaint is that right now Verstappen doesn’t have any competition.

“Max is made to win,” he said. “He’s so good, really brilliant. Just watching him drive makes me happy. But you want to see him fight with others to give titles more value.

Told a new era seems to have begun, Hill replied: “Seems? Max has already started that journey.

“Before that we had the era of Lewis, before that of Vettel. This year, next year and maybe the years after that, the era is Max.” recommends

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Time is already running out for Verstappen to bag seven

With two World titles in the bag and a third on the way, because let’s be honest Sergio Perez’s implosion in Australia has already cast doubt on his title credentials, it would seem only time can stop Verstappen from winning seven or even eight World titles.

And that’s a stopwatch that he himself has set.

The Dutchman has spoken several times about not racing into his 40s and perhaps even quitting when his current Red Bull expires. More recently he also said if Formula 1 introduces more races, he’s out of here.

That means after this season he has five years in which to win four titles to match the record, if of course he does win this season’s, or five to break it.

Never before in history has a driver won more than five on the trot and while one would be hard-pressed to say with absolutely surety that Verstappen cannot win eight in a row, the Dutchman has shown himself to be something special.

But in F1, special drivers don’t always get the results they want because of the car they’re driving which begs the question can Red Bull dominate for the next five years.

If their rivals don’t intervene on that, the FIA may yet do so.