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Max Verstappen

F1 champion likens Verstappen to bitter rival

The Dutchman's single-minded commitment to being the best has drawn comparisons with another multiple World Champion.

Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen has said Max Verstappen's singular commitment to the sport reminds him of Michael Schumacher.

Hakkinen won closely-fought World Championship titles in 1998 and 1999, but lost out to Schumacher in 2000 after a season-long battle, and ultimately retired from the sport after an underwhelming 2001 season.

By contrast, Schumacher, whose 2000 title was his third, romped to victory over the next four seasons to set a then-record of seven World Championship wins – a feat in F1 history only equalled by Lewis Hamilton.

The German was known for setting new standards of professionalism both inside and outside the cockpit, and Hakkinen said that, in that respect, Schumacher and Verstappen were cut from a similar cloth.

"Michael was incredible, crazy driver," Hakkinen told RacingNews365.

"His commitment for the sport, motor racing was his lifestyle. It was not just a job. It was not a hobby. It was his lifestyle, and that's what I see in Max, also that it is his lifestyle."

Hakkinen hails Verstappen's desire for improvement

Verstappen is known for his fondness of sim racing, frequently posting videos of himself competing in events on his home simulator, and Hakkinen said this was evidence of the Dutchman’s desire to constantly improve his skills and technique.

"He's enjoying what he's doing. When he's not driving the racing car, then he's driving a sim, and developing himself," said Hakkinen.

"It's not like learning a new racing line, or to brake later. It's something that you can develop yourself becoming a better racing driver, you learn more discipline, you learn new things about yourself how become a better racing driver.

"The only way you can do that is to practice, practice and be hungry for winning."

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