Experienced engineer Xevi Pujolar says 17-year-old sensation Max Verstappen is the best driver he has seen enter formula one.
Although the young Dutchman’s 2015 debut initially attracted controversy and consternation, that is steadily being replaced by awe and admiration of his obvious talent and promise.
Many are beginning to compare him with the potential once shown by a young Michael Schumacher or even the legendary Ayrton Senna.
“Max has given the whole team extra motivation,” Pujolar, Toro Rosso’s senior race engineer, told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
“You know he will always bring something extra in the races. You recognise in him the difference between a potential world champion and the rest,” he added.
“The best is yet to come,” added Pujolar, who formerly worked at Williams with highly-rated drivers including Ralf Schumacher, Mark Webber and Juan Pablo Montoya.
But he said Verstappen is “the best I’ve ever seen come in” to F1.
The teenager’s momentum was disturbed a week ago in China, where after launching audacious overtaking moves he was en route to a points-finish before his Renault engine failed.
Pujolar said: “But Max was able to show his enormous talent again, so he cannot do more than that.
The next step, then, is a Sebastian Vettel-like effort to take Toro Rosso back to the podium.
“I think he can,” said Pujulor. “With someone like Max, anything is possible.” (GMM)