Max Verstappen has already cemented his place as one of the greatest Formula 1 racers ever, according to Nico Rosberg.
The former Mercedes comments came on the back of a remarkable year for Verstappen. The Dutchman romped to his second drivers’ title by winning 15 of the 22 races, which also played a major role in his team securing the constructors’ championship crown for the first time in almost a decade.
In the bigger picture, his victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the 35th of his career already, at the age of 25. As a result, he is sixth on the all-time list and ahead of fellow double champion Fernando Alonso – Aryton Senna, Alain Prost, Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton are the only drivers ahead of him now.
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Speaking as a guest on Sky Sports’ Any Driven Monday programme, 2016 world champion Rosberg feels there is no doubt now that Verstappen is already among the F1 elite. “He is an incredible driver,” said the German.
“It is easy to say now he is going to be one of the best of all time which, even now, he already is if you look at the statistics. A double world champion with all the race wins that he has, more than Alonso now as well, so he is already one of the best of all time.
“He is only getting started so he is going to confirm that in the next decade. It is just incredible, his level of driving is just phenomenal. It is great to witness that.”
Nico Rosberg said Max Verstappen “destroyed” his rivals
Nico Rosberg said Max Verstappen “destroyed” his rivals ( Image: Sky Sports F1)
What impresses Rosberg even further about what Verstappen achieved in 2022 was Red Bull’s shaky start to the season. They were roughly on par with Ferrari in terms of car performance, but they were the ones suffering early-season reliability gremlins which forced the Dutchman to retire from two of the first three races.
The fact he responded to that setback to be almost entirely dominant across the rest of the season led to Rosberg, who once partnered Hamilton at Mercedes for four seasons, asserting that Verstappen had “destroyed” the Brit and the rest of the competition.
“We need to remember also, it is not like from the get-go this year that his car was miles quicker than everybody else,” he added. “Ferrari was the quickest car when we got going at the beginning of the season and still he got these incredible 15 wins and really destroyed the opposition in that way. If you look at the points he scored, he had 145, 150 points more than anyone else, it is unreal. It is one of the greatest driving seasons we have ever seen.”
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