Helmut Marko believes that Max Verstappen shares quite a few similar character traits with F1 legends Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
Senna and Schumacher wrapped up 10 World Championship titles between them between the late 1980s and mid-2000s, cementing their statuses as two of the most successful and talented drivers F1 has ever seen.
Verstappen may have only just clinched his first title, beating Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 Drivers' Championship, but Marko says there are already striking similarities between his young charge and the two legendary names.
Asked to compare Verstappen to the greats, Marko explained that the different machinery each driver raced makes it impossible to get a truly accurate picture, though did note a common theme.
"It is impossible to compare them because they are different periods," he told AutoRevue.
"But what they all have [is] a complete focus – you can also call it recklessness. There is nothing else but, 'I want to win and I will do everything for it'."
Verstappen's "incredible willpower" makes all the difference
Marko went on to explain how it is sometimes even possible to see when the driver is transcending the limits of the car.
"They grow beyond normally non-existent possibilities," he commented.
Marko pointed to the example of Verstappen's final qualifying lap in Saudi Arabia, where the Dutch driver was set to snatch pole position by a large chunk of time until a last-corner error ruined his efforts.
"The qualifying lap of Max in Jeddah comes to mind, even if it didn't work out," Marko said.
"You could see that he was pushing the car so hard – it was even visible."
But it is Verstappen's willingness to 'have a go' that really sets him apart, with Marko pointing out that other drivers simply cannot relax if they have got the Red Bull man behind them.
"In the races, Hamilton knows that he can't leave the smallest gap open for Verstappen," he added.
"He's already poking in when the other guy can't even see him in the rear-view mirror.
"This incredible willpower with the necessary talent makes all the difference."
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