1979 Formula 1 World Champion Jody Scheckter has stated that Max Verstappen would have been the driver to beat during his era.
Verstappen has won three consecutive titles and has dominated the last two seasons in F1, winning 77 per cent of races since the start of 2022.
The Dutchman now sits third all-time in Grand Prix wins, behind only Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.
Scheckter raced in F1 during the 1970s, an era that included high-profile names such as Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda.
Winning 10 Grands Prix during his stint in F1, Scheckter prevailed in the World Championship fight in his second last year in the sport, beating Gilles Villeneuve to the title.
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Amid his period of dominance in F1's current era, the South African believes that Verstappen would have prevailed during those times as well.
“He is better than anyone who ran in my era,” Scheckter told Gazzetta della Sport.
“The difference that is sometimes pointed out is that people say that in those days they were 'real men' who risked their lives.
“The cars often broke down, not the Ferrari but the Tyrrell did for example. I realised later that I was lucky: my greatest success was to stay alive, and I never even ended up in a helicopter to the hospital.
“I started out a bit reckless, like everyone, when you're young you try to show talent and courage.
“Max did it too and I didn't like the way he raced at the start of his career, because he showed no respect to the other drivers.
“Then the penny dropped with him too, that you don't win races and especially championships if you cause incidents and contact with other cars.”