Max Verstappen asserts that Lewis Hamilton is missing a distinctive quality that distinguishes good drivers from exceptional ones in the world of Formula 1.
In a remarkable start to the season, the Dutch driver has triumphed in an impressive five out of the first seven races, establishing a commanding lead of 53 points over his Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez.
While Verstappen acknowledges the significant contribution of the RB19 car in his triumphs, he has highlighted a particular aspect that he believes can provide him with an advantageous edge over his competitors.
As a two-time World Champion, Verstappen frequently exhibits acute attention to detail, often capturing minor intricacies from the cockpit through the team radio. One notable instance was during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend when he astutely recognized the sound of a ringing phone.
“I do like to think that having extra capacity is a big advantage in F1 as well. You cannot train that kind of thing. Only a few drivers have it,” the two-time world champion remarked in an interview with The Sunday Times.
Quizzed whether other drivers on the grid possess such astounding abilities, the reigning world champion could only pinpoint Spanish driver, Fernando Alonso.
“For me, definitely Fernando [Alonso] – I can feel that, from the way he operates in the car, picking up on little things, showing this extra capacity – still driving at the limit but thinking about other stuff as well,” said Verstappen.
Fernando Alonso has already cemented his legendary status in Formula One. The 41-year-old frequently showcases his mentorship skills by actively engaging with his teammate, Lance Stroll, through the team radio.
Alonso’s exceptional dexterity provides valuable guidance on race strategy, he keenly keeps an eye on the colossal screens to closely monitor the on-track action.
In describing the process of how drivers effectively process external factors while behind the wheel, Verstappen elaborated by stating: “You are talking to the engineer but I am also hearing a pit stop by a Ferrari car. I asked, ‘Did they box? I heard that on the radio.’
“But if you are fully focused on your driving, you probably won’t pick it up because you are fully focused on his voice.”
When faced with a provocative question regarding his rivalry with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, the Dutchman remained honest in his response.
Verstappen responded: “Fernando stands out more with that. People will probably start hating me for [saying] that, but just that’s how I see it.”