Christian Horner believes that Max Verstappen has a "rare" quality that only a few F1 drivers have, with Lewis Hamilton amongst them.
The Red Bull team boss is impressed by how the Dutchman is able to monitor what is happening around him during a Grand Prix whilst still going flat-out in terms of pace.
This was a skill that Horner witnessed from Verstappen at the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and it is one that he previously saw in Sebastian Vettel, the last driver before Verstappen to win a World Championship with Red Bull.
"I have no doubt [Verstappen is] the best we have seen on one of our cars, in terms of outright raw ability and commitment," Horner told The Times.
"He's the best driver we’ve seen. Sebastian was also incredibly good, but we gave him a better car.
"The stand-out moments for me come when you turn up somewhere like Jeddah. Nobody has seen the circuit before. Max goes out and is two and a half seconds clear of anybody else. It takes half an hour for anyone to get close to his time.
"He’s got a fundamental, natural ability which means he's driving with less effort at the limit than other drivers. He's not under stress himself. He can be driving flat out but still has the ability to process what is going on in the race, with the car, with his opponents.
"Very rarely do you see drivers with that. Lewis has that. Max has that. Sebastian, when he was winning those world championships, had that."
Verstappen races "with his heart"
As well as this, Horner thinks that Verstappen possesses another asset that he has not often seen in many other drivers.
"What Max also has, that I haven't seen in many drivers other than when I was growing up watching Nigel Mansell, is a massive heart," Horner explained.
"He drives with his heart. He gives it absolutely everything."
Verstappen had his most successful F1 season to date in 2021 and, after a long battle with Hamilton for the title, clinched his debut World Championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Yet Horner likes the fact that, despite his recent achievements, Verstappen has not changed his lifestyle.
"After a race he just wants to get back on his FIFA game with his mates," the Team Principal said.
"He hasn't become some kind of diva. Money has obviously become a factor in his life but he still has the same principles."
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