October 4, 2023

Max Verstappen ‘still has to prove his F1 greatness’ with a key component missing: PlanetF1

Le Mans winner Richard Bradley believes there is only one element missing from Max Verstappen’s career to prove his all-time great status: being able to run inferior machines seemingly beyond their capabilities.

Talk of Verstappen’s status in the pantheon of the all-time greats has already begun, having taken his 40th race win in Barcelona last weekend and two world championships to his name.

He’s rocketing up the all-time rankings on all statistical charts, not that the man himself is particularly interested in records, and in its current form the sky is seemingly the limit for the Red Bull driver as he flies through the season with a 53-point lead in search of a third title in a row.

Sportscar racer Bradley, who won France’s legendary 24-hour race in the LMP2 category in 2015, pointed to examples of other Formula 1 greats in days gone by when they weren’t in dominant cars and still showed their greatness, using Verstappen’s debut season with Toro Rosso alongside Carlos Sainz as a moment when he may not have stood out as he is now.

However, he was quick to add that the current status of the Red Bull driver is one of the best in the sport.

“I don’t think so,” said Bradley on the On Track GP podcast, produced in partnership between PlanetF1.com and DR Sports, when asked if Verstappen can already be considered an all-time F1 great at just 25- year of age.

“The reason for this is that since he started using Red Bull he has always had a car capable of fighting.

“And all the greats of all time took something that wasn’t the best gear at some point, and they made it work.

“You know, we’re looking at Lewis and 2009 with that McLaren. Okay, he had the dominant Mercedes years [since]. We look at Schumacher when he won his first championships, Senna when he won that famous Donnington Grand Prix in 1993.

“They all have times when they are not in competition gear, but they are fine. We haven’t seen that from Max.

“When he was at Toro Rosso, which is now AlphaTauri, he was level with Carlos [Sainz]so I’m still waiting for that last bit to prove his greatness – but the level he’s at now is Schumacher-esque, it’s absolutely dominant.

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Bradley further explained his reasoning by comparing Verstappen’s seemingly serene progress in recent seasons to that of Fernando Alonso, who is equally regarded for his driving talent but “he’s always just gone to the wrong place at the wrong time” in his career. .

Despite driving mostly sub-par machines since winning his titles in 2005 and 2006, the dominance he has shown over his teammates and the performance he got out of his cars has continued to amaze people – and Bradley has supported Verstappen to take the the same if and when that happens in the future.

“Fernando has consistently when he’s been in bad cars, he’s made them work, and he’s managed to get results,” added Bradley.

“That’s why we look at Fernando in that light, even if he only has two championships, even if he has fewer wins than Max, we look at him that way, because he has proven it with inferior equipment.

“I’m waiting to see that happen for Max, and it will happen at some point because it’s the ebb and flow of Formula 1 regulatory changes.

“I do think he’s up to the challenge and 100% up to it, but you just want proof of it.”

You can watch all of Richard Bradley’s thoughts on the Spanish Grand Prix weekend and the rest of the Formula 1 world in the debut episode of the On Track GP podcast below.

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