Gerhard Berger agrees that comparisons between the legendary Ayrton Senna and F1 teen sensation Max Verstappen are appropriate.
The Senna comparisons have been made since even before the young Dutchman debuted.
But they are back with a bang after Brazil, where Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko said Verstappen’s race reminded him of Senna’s legendary Donington 1993.
“The real hero of the day was Verstappen, who spent a Sunday as Senna used to,” said Italy’s Corriere della Sera.
“At the age of 19, he built the impossible bridge between past and present with his courage and arrogance, putting every other driver under pressure.”
Those sort of media and pundit superlatives are commonplace in F1, but Berger gives the Verstappen/Senna comparison real credence.
That is because the Austrian was arguably Senna’s most memorable teammate and personal friend.
“Yes, when I see Max, Senna comes to my mind,” Berger admitted.
“This is the first time I say something like this, because I was really close to Ayrton and I think he was the greatest.
“In his personality, his driving, his results, his preparation. He was different to everyone.
“I’ve always respected that and so I avoided comparisons, but with Max it’s hard not to,” he said.
Referring to Verstappen’s performance at Interlagos, Berger said: “It was awesome.
“He was always trying new lines, even behind the safety car he was studying the circuit. Engineers from other teams were even telling their drivers to imitate him.
“He knew exactly what to do, and it’s amazing at his age. He sought and found impossible lines, making the others look like schoolboys. His control of the car, as he saw in the incident on the straight was crazy,” he added.
As for Verstappen’s critics, who say the Red Bull driver is too arrogant, Berger insisted: “Someone like him can afford it.”