The debate about the greatest of all time also exists in Formula 1 – and not just since Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton. Is Red Bull driver Max Verstappen one of the “Greatest of All Time” (GOAT)? If Formula 1 legend Johnny Herbert has his way, the two-time world champion does not need to shy away from comparison with the icons of the premier class.
Youngest Formula 1 driver of all time, youngest Grand Prix winner of all time, most victories in one season: These are just a few of the records that Max Verstappen has set in his racing career. With 37 Grand Prix successes, the 25-year-old Red Bull driver is sixth in the all-time list of winners in the premier class. For ex-Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert there is no doubt: “Mad Max” is already one of the greatest of his kind.
“For me, he’s already one of the best we’ve ever seen,” Herbert told British online portal Givemesport. And provided an explanation: “For me it’s always about consistency – and he doesn’t make any mistakes.”
At Verstappen there is “a wow factor,” said Herbert: “Whatever you think of Max’s way of driving with outstretched elbows, that’s an essential part of racing, to be honest.”
Formula 1 legend on Verstappen: “One of the best we’ve ever seen”
It’s not his style either, emphasized Michael Schumacher’s former teammate: “But that really doesn’t matter, because what he does with his racing car is sometimes pretty incredible.”
Herbert left it open where exactly Verstappen should be sorted as the F1 champion of the years 2021 and 2022 in the GOAT debate. “It’s difficult because times are so different than they used to be,” said the three-time Grand Prix winner: “Could you say that the guys who won in the ’60s, Sir Jackie Stewart or Graham Hill, are better now than these guys because it was more dangerous? And because they had more to contend with?”.
The cars in the ’60s “probably had about the same performance as a Formula 3 car today,” Herbert said. “It was a completely different world, but that was the technology back then and they were driving that at that particular moment fastest thing on earth.”
In any case, Max Verstappen exceeded all expectations, said Herbert: “Before he won his first world title, there was always talk about this guy being the next big thing,” the 58-year-old Englishman said: “Now he has won two titles – and I think he’s already one of the best we’ve seen.”