Verstappen backs Alonso as one of his all-time top five

(L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing on the drivers' parade. 28.05.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images
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Max Verstappen has stuck by two-time world champion Fernando Alonso as one of his top five Formula 1 drivers of all time in response to a question from sports streaming and entertainment platform DAZN.

Verstappen himself is often found on such lists compiled by others, thanks to his astonishing run of three world championships and having reached a tally of 60 Grand prix wins with his most recent victory in Montreal.

The cost of such success it to continually asked his opinion on the greats of the sport in years gone by, but perhaps appropriately for someone still only 26 years old he tends to some of the more recent famous figures.

Alonso is one such, along with Verstappen's great rival Lewis Hamilton, both of whom are still on the grid and competing for race wins and potentially still even titles with Hamilton's move from Mercedes to ferrari next season.

"I will go for Michael, probably also Ayrton, Fernando, Lewis and Fangio," he told the broadcaster, adding: "The familiar names."

Michael Schumacher is the only driver than Lewis Hamilton to have won seven world championships in his career, the first two with Benetton in the 1990s and the remainder with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004.

Schumacher won 91 of the 306 races he started during a career spanning over two decades. He started from pole on 68 occasions and finished on the podium an impressive 155 times.

Ayrton Senna is one of the most widely idolised F1 drivers of all time, winning three championships from 1988 to 1991. It was a time of fewer races per season making his tally of 41 wins in 161 starts an eye-catching stat for the period.

The Brazilian driver was active in F1 for only 11 seasons before his untimely death in an accident at Imola in 1994. And despite his towering reputation in the sport, Juan Manuel Fangio was active for just nine years.

Nonetheless the Argentinian took five titles during F1's formative years winning 24 of the 51 Grands Prix in which he took part. he's regarded by many as the best driver ever to have driven in Formula 1.

By contrast, Fernando Alonso's tally of 'only' two titles in his long career that started in with Minardi in 2001 might not seem at the same calibre, but Verstappen is a big fan of the sport's most experienced driver.

"I think Fernando always shows himself as he is," Verstappen explained of his selection of the Spaniard. "That is something I admire enormously.

"He has been very successful but remains passionate about racing," he continued. "He's a normal, nice guy and I appreciate that. He is also generally very happy when another driver does well."

"I think he was the first Spanish F1 driver who made the sport big in Spain," verstappen pointed out. "He also became world champion. For me it's a bit the same in the Netherlands.

"He loves racing and I love racing - he even a little bit more than me, because at his age he is still in F1.

"I have a lot of respect for him," Verstappen added. "I remember following him in F1 when I was still in karts. For him, I turned on the TV because I knew he was going to race well."

Alonso recently signed a new extension to his contract with Aston Martin that will keep him on the grid through to the end of 2026.

By then he will have taken part in well over 400 Grand Prix races and won 32 of them. However the last was 11 years ago in his home race at Catalunya when he was driving for Ferrari.

His move to Aston has seen a resurgence in form and he was on the podium eight times, most recently in the 2023 Brazilian GP which was won by Verstappen.

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