Coulthard thinks Verstappen has got into Hamilton's head

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing with David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Advisor / Channel 4 F1 Commentator in qualifying parc ferme. 20.11.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar
© XPB 

Former Formula 1 driver turned television commentator and pundit David Coulthard says that Max Verstappen had succeeded in getting a crucial psychological advantage over Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen beat Hamilton in the final lap of the last race of the season to clinch his maiden world championship and deny what would have been a record eighth crown for the Briton.

Coulthard says that the manner in which he pulled off his victory will also give Verstappen the edge going into 2022, having got into the head of his rival in a way no one else has succeeded in doing before.

"He’s an exceptional human, an exceptional athlete," Coulthard said about Verstappen in an interview with Channel 4 television. "He’s brilliant and divisive.

"Who else do we know that’s brilliant and divisive? Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, to name but a few, so some have been able to do it.

"[Against] the might of Mercedes and Lewis, Max has had to arguably come with a different approach. His approach is: whenever there is a door partially open, he'll go for it.

"Lewis has to keep opening up the door because he knows [Max] is coming, and that’s got in the psyche of Lewis.

“In fairness to Lewis he’s been able to win an amazing amount of championships in a very clean way," Coulthard continued. "He hasn’t really had too much controversy."

Coulthard said that Verstappen has been brought up by his father Jos to "fear nobody" and this was why he had been able to bulldoze his way through junior championships and now stands at the pinnacle of F1.

“Max has had to fight for it and has been a winner all the way through, skipping some of the lower formulas to come into F1," he explained.

“He fears nobody. That’s not a part of his psyche. The thing that I find most impressive is that if there’s a gap, he goes for it. There’s not even a doubt.

"When I was racing I used to weigh up, ‘Should I risk it now, should I not risk it?’ He just goes for it. It really is quite special."

Coulthard won 13 Grand Prix races in his F1 career with Williams, McLaren and finally Red Bull between 1994 and 2008. By comparison, Verstappen has now been victorious in 20 races, ten of them in 2021 alone.

But Hamilton still holds the all-time top honours, with more wins (103) than any other driver in history, and sharing the current record for most world championships with Michael Schumacher on seven despite losing out to Verstappen this season.

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