Herbert: Verstappen a champion in waiting


Max Verstappen has all the qualities to become Formula One world champion and dominate an entire era of Formula One like Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, says Johnny Herbert.

The 19-year-old's impressive rise through F1 continued this season as he claimed his first race win in Barcelona, becoming the youngest driver to achieve that feat.

Though his aggressive approaches to overtaking and defending track position have drawn the ire of his competitors, Herbert believes the excitement prompted by the teenager makes the sport better.

Verstappen displayed his underlying class at this year's Brazilian Grand Prix, slicing through the field in torrential rain to snatch a podium place from 13th.

And Herbert believes such performances will see Verstappen become one of F1's biggest stars in years to come.

"Definitely so," he told Omnisport when asked whether Verstappen could be a future world champion.

"He's one of those rare drivers that you don't see very often coming out. And it's an Ayrton Senna type of thing, it's a Michael Schumacher type element that we see well. Lewis Hamilton, same way. Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel of the modern drivers we've got. 

"And then you've the same way in the 60s with the Jackie Stewarts, Graham Hills, Jimmy Clark, they were always the raw talents that were out there and we're still finding those today. 

"And Max just has that lovely ability, and it's refreshing because in some respects we've sort of lost a little bit of the raciness that's out there, and he's brought it back.

"It's refreshing to see, it's what I love to see, it's what I loved to do when I was racing. It's right on the edge, it's playing games on the other drivers, leaning on them a little bit, throwing it up on the inside, then a little bit side-by-side stuff; one going off the circuit, one blaming the other one for doing it. 

"But that's the racing. That's what we want to see. So Max has got that."


Herbert was speaking at the launch of his book 'What Doesn't Kill You....My Life in Motor Racing'