Verstappen "the best driver out there" - Rosberg

Mercedes' 2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg has labelled Max Verstappen "the best driver out there" and outlined five reasons supporting that claim ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Verstappen "the best driver out there" - Rosberg

Red Bull driver Verstappen claimed his first pole in F1 at the 93rd attempt after beating Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in qualifying at the Hungaroring.

Rosberg has joined Verstappen's team boss Christian Horner in declaring the 21-year-old is even better than five-time world champion and points leader Hamilton on current form.

"At the moment Max Verstappen is the best F1 driver out there," Rosberg said in a post-qualifying analysis video on his YouTube channel. "Even slightly better than Lewis Hamilton, just recently overtaking him.

"He's been doing an unbelievable job."

Rosberg, who spent four seasons alongside Hamilton at Mercedes and beat the Briton to the 2016 title, said Verstappen's pole was down to an "epic piece of driving" from the Dutchman.

Read Also:

He believes Mercedes had the fastest car in qualifying but Verstappen produced two amazing laps, and Rosberg used the result to outline five reasons why Verstappen is the best driver on the F1 grid at the moment.

"The first point: natural talent," said Rosberg. "Unbelievable natural talent. On a line with Senna, Hamilton, one of the absolute one-in-10-years natural talents."

Rosberg also highlighted Verstappen's confidence and said he has a "narcissistic touch" but not in a negative way.

"All the greatest drivers had that," said Rosberg. "Schumacher had it, Senna had it. They all had that steely self-confidence which I unfortunately didn't have to that extent.
"I think he's got that in bucket loads."

Rosberg said Verstappen's response to the scrutiny he faced after high-profile errors in 2018 was an example of this self-belief.

"It gives you this resilience," Rosberg added. "There's so much pressure, so much going on, so many opinions and politics, and if you have that steely self-confidence it keeps you protected from that and keeps you focused, keeps your head clear."

Rosberg's third point was how well-suited the 2019 Red Bull is to Verstappen.

"The car matches him really well," said Rosberg. "They've engineered a car that fits perfectly to his driving. If you don't agree with that, take a look at today's qualifying lap: it's on absolute rails, it's unbelievable.

"That's a perfect match there."

Verstappen made his F1 debut as an 17-year-old in 2015, and despite only being 21 has the joint-eighth highest number of grand prix starts (92) of the current crop of drivers.

Rosberg believes that combination of youth and experience gives Verstappen "a combination that the sport has never seen".

He thinks that is why Verstappen is able to challenge Hamilton, who Rosberg said is "certainly already on a little bit of a decline in his natural human abilities" despite still being an "unbelievable weapon".

"The best age for racing drivers is 30, 31, 32 – and that's because your ability as you're getting older slightly decreases, but experience counts so much in this sport," said Rosberg.

"So experience will outdo the small decrease in your natural ability as a human as you get a bit older.

"But with Max, he has the absolute youth – bullet-speed reactions in his mind, absolute peak human body reaction times in his – and he also has the experience, because he's one of the most experienced drivers out there by now with four years under his belt.

"That makes for an unbelievably powerful combination."

Rosberg's final point was to hail Verstappen's dedication.

"We see that in his fitness, in his gaming, keeping his reactions going, go-karting, working with the engineers," said Rosberg. "It's really powerful commitment."

shares
comments
Resta to rejoin Ferrari in senior technical role in November

Previous article

Resta to rejoin Ferrari in senior technical role in November

Next article

How Mercedes drivers have gone different ways on start systems

How Mercedes drivers have gone different ways on start systems
Load comments
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt Prime

The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming.

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021