Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard hailed Max Verstappen’s talent, claiming the Dutchman has always stood out in lower racing categories as he forged his way to top flight.
Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff may have been trying their best to undermine the achievements of Max Verstappen lately, but David Coulthard has praised the Red Bull driver, insisting on his immense talent that was evident early on in his racing career.
“Max has always stood out through all the lower Formulas,” Coulthard told Formula 1’s Official Website. “Ever since he arrived in Formula 1 and won his first Grand Prix – I think even before he was 18 – you know you are watching someone special.
“This was something you could have acknowledged when you saw Michael [Schumacher], Ayrton [Senna] or any of these guys. What is super impressive is the maturity he has got at 25,” he added.
Referring to what Hamilton said about Verstappen never having to deal with a tough teammate, Coulthard said: “I know Lewis [Hamilton] had made a comment that he does not have tough team mates.
“First of all, that’s not the case, and second of all it’s not actually about who your team mate is, it’s about who your competitors are, and his biggest competitor so far has been Lewis,” he explained.
“And they have been unbelievable in the way they have gone wheel-to-wheel, and performed, and really delivered some great results. Whether you are a Mercedes fan, a Ferrari fan, it doesn’t matter.
“This sport brings exceptional drivers. Lewis is an exceptional driver, Fernando [Alonso] is an exceptional driver, Max is an exceptional driver, and this is just the facts.
“And in wait we have Charles [Leclerc], Carlos [Sainz], Lando [Norris], George [Russell], and the list goes on. These guys have shown great potential but are yet to win multiple races and championships,” the Scot maintained.
Red Bull’s consistency has been admirable
Coulthard spent the final four seasons of his F1 career with Red Bull (2005-2008) his best finish with the team being two third places in Monaco (2006) and Canada (2008), at a time when the Milton Keynes outfit were still building and far from being the ultra successful F1 team they are now.
Coulthard commended the performance of his former team, he said: “The consistency of what they deliver under Christian [Horner’s] leadership, Adrian [Newey’s] direction, of course those two do not design and build the whole car as you know, but you need a great team of people.
“But somehow, even when sometimes there is a changing of the guard, they are able to always make sure that there is someone coming on that has the skills, has the potential, and are there to deliver,” he explained.
As to who might be able to end Red Bull and Verstappen’s dominant run, Coulthard reckons: “Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, Charles and Carlos and George of course. Ferrari if they get on top of the issues.
“All of these teams are great teams. Lewis has shown his pedigree. Seven-time world champion, could have been nine times, could’ve been 10.
“The reality is he’s got that, he’s signed for another two years, he has got the hunger, he has been exceptional all the way from karting to where he is now, and now we will see what Mercedes give him as a car,” the winner of 13 grands prix concluded.