Pedro de la Rosa believes that Max Verstappen has the potential to become the best F1 driver of all time.
The 2022 season has proved to be a strong one so far for the Dutchman, with the Red Bull driver having built an 80-point lead at the top of the World Championship standings ahead of nearest rival Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen's form has impressed former F1 driver de la Rosa who, in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, has tipped the 24-year-old to put his name in the history books as one of the greats.
How do Verstappen and Leclerc compare?
When asked who is better between Verstappen and Leclerc, de la Rosa did not have to think for long about his answer.
"I think they are comparable in terms of raw speed," the Spaniard explained.
"They are very fast, especially over a lap and on top of that they are very clever. The biggest difference is that Max is much more in control.
"He really doesn't make any mistakes, and I don't even mean a spin or a crash. But how often do you see him lock a wheel?
"No matter the conditions, Max is in control. Whether it's raining or dry, whether it's free practice or the race."
This is a part of Verstappen's development that de la Rosa has praised.
"In the past, Max already went to the limit in free practice and then he also made the occasional mistake with a spin or a crash," he continued.
"But when was the last time you saw him lock a wheel? That he drove a flat spot? He is so in control."
"Max is fantastic to watch. He is smart, aggressive and fast. Max is all in one."
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De la Rosa: Verstappen could become the best
De la Rosa's words of praise for Verstappen raise the question of whether the Dutchman is of the same calibre of some of the most successful names in Formula 1, such as Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton.
Can Verstappen join the ranks of these drivers?
"I think Max has everything it takes to become one of the best of all time in Formula 1," de la Rosa commented.
"He has all the qualities, that's for sure. Only time will tell which teams he will drive for and how competitive those teams will be in the next 10 years. But Max has everything it takes to become the best."
When asked which driver he would want if he were a team boss, de la Rosa has no hesitation in choosing the 2021 World Champion.
"I think he is the best driver at the moment," the former driver said.
"But let's not forget Hamilton, [Fernando] Alonso and Leclerc and I also have a lot of respect for drivers like [Lando] Norris, [George] Russell or [Carlos] Sainz, who are at a high level.
"If I had to choose a driver who is peaking and reaching his highest level right now, it would be Max."
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