Rob Smedley says he would opt to be a Race Engineer to Max Verstappen rather than Lewis Hamilton if faced with the choice.
Smedley is one of Formula 1's best-known Race Engineers, having worked alongside Felipe Massa at Ferrari before moving to Williams. He left his role in 2018, and since then has taken the position of F1's Director of Data Systems.
Whilst he has no plans to return to race engineering, Smedley admits he would choose to work with Verstappen above Hamilton purely because of where Verstappen is at in his career development.
"I think my race engineering days are probably behind me now. I might be a little bit out of the game," Smedley told the F1 Nation podcast.
"But if I'm being totally honest, [I'd choose] Max, and the reason why I say that is because I think that Lewis is more the finished article.
"I think that [with] Max, there's still some stuff to do with him, to get to that absolute finished article, which is perfection.
"And he's a nice kid, actually, he's a real nice lad. So I think that would be quite good fun."
McLaren and Ferrari drivers highly rated
Slightly further back on the grid, Smedley also rates McLaren's Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo highly, as well as the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.
"We've got such a rich crop of talent going on right now," Smedley explained.
"Lando is just getting better and better and better. It just astounds me [how] he's driving beyond his years. I really like Daniel, just because he's such a nice guy, and I think that he really struggled at the start of the season to get his head around that car.
"To do the job that he's done, and [to] have that mental stability and come back, and always do it in good spirits as well [is impressive]. He's really got his head around what being an F1 driver is all about.
"The two Ferrari drivers are ace. Carlos has gone there and done the business staightaway. [He's] made a lot of people sit up and, when they compare him against Charles, probably didn't expect him to do as well as he's done.
"But he's got his head down and he works hard. Nice guy, just gets on with the job.
"I think we're really fortunate in Formula 1 at the minute, because we've got so many good drivers right across the board."
Smedley also gave a word to George Russell, joking: "I better mention George, because I quite often see him and he'll shout at me if I don't say him as well!"
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