Foto: Red Bull Racing
Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger believes the comparison Honda boss Masashi Yamamoto made between Max Verstappen and Ayrton Senna should be taken seriously.
Max Verstappen’s victory in Monaco was the first victory with a Honda engine since Ayrton Senna in 1992. Honda boss Masashi Yamamoto thought that was reason enough to compare Max Verstappen’s driving style with that of the Brazilian grandmaster.
“He is only twenty-three years old and still has the potential to match and surpass Senna’s record of six Monaco wins,” said Yamamoto. “I’m glad I was able to help him take that step.”
Gerhard Berger, who drove alongside Ayrton Senna at McLaren-Honda, joins Yamamoto. He does this mainly in the knowledge that Toyoharu Tanabe, his former race engineer at McLaren and now technical director of Honda F1, also shares this view.
“It’s harder to compare with statistics than with your gut feeling,” Berger told Sport1.de.
“Senna is still special to me, he still stands out. Just because of his charisma. But Lewis Hamilton is also doing an incredible job, which should not be forgotten.”
“In terms of his successes, you could equate him with Ayrton.”
“As for Max, most of the Honda technicians weren’t there at the time. But if Tanabe-San, who still holds a high position at Honda, has made the comparison with Ayrton, that should be taken seriously.”
“Because Tanabe-San was my race engineer at the time and so knew exactly Ayrton’s telemetry data.”
About Verstappen’s current campaign, Berger praises the young Dutchman for his maturity, which he shows despite his young age.
“Despite his youth, he is already very experienced,” Berger said.
“At the start in Baku he was extremely careful given the circumstances, because he knew he could overtake in Baku with his car. He knows exactly what to do.”
“In Monaco, for example, the start can decide the race. That’s why he was much more aggressive there.”
“He is well armed this year and therefore has a real chance of winning the Formula 1 world title,” Berger concluded.
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