Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko believes that Max Verstappen shares a common trait with Formula 1 legends Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, and that he knows the reason why Verstappen is the best.
Dutchman Max Verstappen won his first Formula One world title last December at the age of 24 in a season that will go down in the annals of the sport, not least because of the intensity of the on-track battles between Verstappen and his great rival Lewis Hamilton.
Although he knows that comparing Formula 1 drivers of different generations is a futile exercise, Helmut Marko nevertheless points out that the Red Bull star driver has one trait in common with Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher: determination.
“It is impossible to compare them because they belong to different periods. But what they have [in common] is their total concentration – you can also call it cruelty. There is nothing more important for them than ‘I want to win and I will do everything for it’,” Marko told Autorevue.
“During the races, [Lewis] Hamilton knows very well that he can’t leave any opening for [Max] Verstappen. He is already pointing the nose of his car while the other guy can’t even see him in his mirror. That incredible determination, on top of the talent needed, makes all the difference to me.”
The Austrian believes the best demonstration of Max Verstappen’s fearlessness was on his final qualifying lap at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last season, when the Red Bull driver took every risk to secure pole position, even hitting a wall on the final corner: “He was unbelievably fast, you could really see he was pushing the car to the limit. You could see it. He drove almost perfectly.”