Verstappen has similarities with Senna: “But comparison can be cruel”
Max Verstappen is doing well in Brazil. GPBlog spoke with Rafael Lopes, commentator for the Brazilian television channel Globo, about the common comparison between Verstappen and Ayrton Senna, the competition the Dutchman has to fear from contemporaries like Charles Leclerc and how Brazilian Formula 1 fans view Verstappen.
“Max has a huge fan base here,” said Lopes talking to GPBlog.com. There are a lot of fans in Brazil who buy a ticket especially for Verstappen to attend the game at Interlagos. “I remember that, in the last GP of Brazil, the fans went crazy in the stands with each overtaking of him in the brakes for S of Senna. Brazilians are very fond of him.”
The character of Verstappen also makes that he has a bit of goodwill. “Verstappen, for me, is a very rich character for people who work with Formula 1 broadcasts. He is authentic, talented and does not accept any challenge. He has a strong personality”, according to the Brazilian commentator, who states that the 22-year-old Dutchman really can set the tone. “For me, he is one of the potential idols of the new generation of the category.”
Comparison with Senna
In and outside Brazil Verstappen is regularly compared with legend Ayrton Senna. Although the Red Bull Racing driver is only at the beginning of his career and hasn’t yet won any titles in the pinnacle of motorsport, the comparison is understandable according to Lopes. “Yes, I see many comparisons of Max Verstappen’s style with that of Ayrton Senna. I think they have similarities in boldness, aggressiveness, talent in the rain and some personality traits.”
Nevertheless, the journalist would like to mention that it is not fair to make a comparison. “But I also think that comparing any driver to Ayrton Senna is cruel. It is something that Brazilian pilots suffered a lot. I think Max has the potential to be a great Formula One driver. But I don’t like that comparison“, he explains.
Verstappen didn’t seek contact with Mercedes
At the beginning of January, Verstappen extended his contract until 2023. The eight-time Grand Prix winner did this without having previously knocked on the door of other top teams such as Mercedes and Ferrari. Lopes understands the choice, although he also makes a small remark. “I think it was the easiest way for Max. Red Bull is a great team and has a project for him, on and off the tracks. At the same time, he could have been more daring and tried to open the Mercedes.”
At the same time, it is not a bad choice. Red Bull, Honda and Verstappen seem to form a trinity. “I think Verstappen has the face of Red Bull, the attitude that Honda likes. Anyway, I think he will grow with the team.”
Verstappen and Leclerc lead the way
Verstappen is expected to compete against other great talents such as Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell over the next ten seasons. According to Lopes, Max and Leclerc are already a bit further in their development. “They are a step ahead. They are in bigger teams, showing good performance, threatening veterans and winning races“, the Brazilian said.
Sainz is a ‘great’ driver according to Lopes. “He’s enormously charismatic and connected to social media: young people really like him.” The fact that Russell hasn’t been able to show you everything has mainly to do with just one thing. “Williams is his handicap. I think he is very talented, but not having a good car can be fatal for his chances in Formula 1″, he concluded.