Max Verstappen is the “best ever” driver to race in Formula 1, believes the sport’s former boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Verstappen is en route to his third F1 title, which he can achieve at the Qatar Grand Prix next weekend.
The Dutchman has dominated the current campaign, winning 13 of the 16 races staged so far.
High praise has been issued Vertappen’s way all year amid his formidable run, with Ecclestone, who oversaw F1’s operations for several decades, the latest to weigh in on his talents.
“Max is the best driver ever,” he told the Daily Mail. “No doubts. I used to say Alain Prost.
“Now I would say Max. He’s the greatest. He is brightest with regards to getting the best out of the car. He doesn’t muck around. He gets right on the programme.
“In my list he is above Lewis Hamilton.”
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The difference between Verstappen and Hamilton
Verstappen and Hamilton went head-to-head for the F1 title in 2021, with the former coming out on top at the end of a season-long battle - albeit in controversial circumstances.
Since their fight, Verstappen has commanded the sport at the head of the field.
Reflecting on the differences between the duo, Ecclestone stated that Hamilton gets the best out of people, while Verstappen is able to extract more potential from the car.
“Lewis is obviously super-super bright, super-super talented,” he said.
“Lewis understands people and gets the best out of them, whereas Max gets the best out of the car. He’s very different from Max.
“When Lewis stops racing, he can get into a different world — entertainment or whatever — but that won’t be the way Max could go.
“I’ll tell you Max is one of us. In our sphere of Formula 1 nobody is like Lewis, nobody is.”