Max Verstappen’s maiden Formula 1 victory at the age of just 18 has led to comparisons with F1 greats the likes of Michael Schumacher and Aryton Senna. However, Gerhard Berger believes such comparisons are premature.
The Red Bull driver claimed a surprise victory at the Spanish Grand Prix last time out, capitalising on the incident which saw both Mercedes drivers crash out of the race on the first lap. While the loss of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg certainly aided Verstappen, the teenager showed tremendous skill and composure to secure the win.
As the youngest race-winner in Formula 1 history, it’s no surprise that Verstappen has since been mentioned in the same breath as some of the sport’s all-time greats. However, while Burger does not doubt the Dutchman’s talent, the former Toro Rosso boss feels it’s too early to anoint him as a future motor racing legend.
“I wouldn’t say same level yet, because it is difficult to say at this stage. But I wouldn’t say no,” Berger told Motorsport.com.
However, the Austrian is confident that Verstappen will claim a World Championship title at some point, and has tipped his hat to Red Bull for handing him the chance to shine.
“He is a World Championship candidate…no question,” said Berger.
He added: “I think it is great for Formula 1 to have an 18-year-old boy doing what he is doing,” he explained.
“It is great for Red Bull to prove it was right to bring him early into F1 and to put him into the other team. The whole story is a nice story.