Newey: Verstappen 'has mental capacity of true F1 legends'

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme with Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer. 31.07.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images
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Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey reckons that driver Max Verstappen has displayed the same levels of towering mental capacity as other giants of Formula 1 that came before him.

The Newey-designed RB19 delivered 21 wins from 22 races last season, with Verstappen taking 19 wins and his team mate Sergio Perez picking up two early Grand Prix victories before slipping away.

Only Singapore slipped through the team's fingers, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz winning for Ferrari as Red Bull struggled to dial the car's settings into the tricky street circuit's corners and kerbs.

It handed Verstappen his third consecutive world championship and he's now spoken of in the same breath as the sport's all-time greats such as Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Juan Manuel Fangio.

Newey endorsed that comparison, saying that Verstappen possessed an almost instinctual ability to drive the car at its peak while also processing all the other demands made on him in the cockpit during a race.

"Max, like all the truly great drivers, you have the impression that he can drive the car almost sub-consciously," Newey told Motorsport.come in an exclusive interview at the end of last year.

"That leaves him with plenty of processing power to think about what the car is doing," he continued. "How he can modify his driving to suit the car, how he can change the set-up via the electronic tools on the steering wheel.

Newey said that Verstappen was able to calculate how the car's tools could "assist him in what he’s trying to achieve at that particular point in the race and the particular deg the tyres are suffering and whatever. "

Newey said that Verstappen was able "basically to read a race the whole way through," a basic talent he'd had ever since his F1 debut in 2015 with Toro Rosso but which had now been developed to the very highest level.


"that kind of ability to drive the car extremely quickly, but still have constant reserve, is something which Max very clearly has," he said. "I would say all the true greats that I’ve worked with have also been the same."

Verstappen's year was punctuated by what appeared from the outside to be some tetchy exchanges with his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, but Newey said that in fact the 26-year-old Dutch driver was in fact easy to work alongside.

"He’s a very easy driver to work with," Newey insisted. “He’s demanding, of course, absolutely; but his feedback is good, it’s not over complicated.

“He knows how to express what he wants out of the car. And then with GP, his race engineer, he has trust that we will come up with solutions. We don’t always – Singapore being the example - but we do our best.”

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