David Coulthard has claimed that only the racing gods can prevent Max Verstappen from romping his way to the 2021 F1 drivers world championship.
The Red Bull driver may currently sit second in the standings to Lewis Hamilton, but on raw pace alone, the 23-year-old looks like the man to beat.
"They [Red Bull] are the real deal in terms of outright pace," Coulthard told Sportsmail at the launch of the Pit Wall Bar.
"There’s no question if you can deliver the lap time in qualifying and then you don’t have reliability issues in the race – that’s where Mercedes have been so strong over the last several years, they have had qualifying pace and they have had unbelievable reliability.
"So the only thing that I think can stand in the way of Max and Red Bull Racing really taking this championship is the racing Gods maybe getting involved in a few things with reliability. He is definitely experienced enough, he is definitely mature enough, which at 23 seems incredible...he is more than ready."
Having faced little competition since Ferrari's demise in 2019, the F1 pundit believes that the challenge of Verstappen will also get the very best out of seven-time world champion Hamilton.
Back in 2018, the 36-year-old got the better of Sebastian Vettel in comparable machinery, but according to Coulthard, taking the fight to Verstappen this season could help to further cement his legacy.
"I think that he genuinely relishes the challenge. He generally finds another gear when he’s really pushed. That’s great for his legacy, that’s great for his motivation and that’s great for Formula One fans," Coulthard concluded.