Max Verstappen is on the edge of future greatness, but he also needs to be “careful”.
That is the claim of F1 legend Niki Lauda, when asked by the Diario de Ibiza newspaper to comment on the controversial yet sensational Dutch teenager.
Verstappen has been making waves for his undoubted talent but also his borderline ‘dangerous’ style, but Lauda said it cannot be compared to the fiery 70s.
“No,” the Mercedes team chairman insisted.
“(James) Hunt and all the drivers then knew that we were close to the spectators and the trees, so while we could drive very close to each other, we could not touch. We respected each other.
“What happens now is that the drivers do not think about the danger,” Lauda said.
“Max Verstappen is one of the best drivers I’ve ever seen in formula one, this young guy is amazing, but he must also be careful because he is having too many accidents and too many touches, and he always says it’s not his fault.
“That is wrong and it’s not true, so he has to think a little more because if he succeeds, he can be the best of all time,” he added.
Other observers agree that while Verstappen is undoubtedly good, his greatness needs to be tested over a longer timescale.
“He is exuberant and reminiscent of the great talents of the past,” Mercedes engineering chief Aldo Costa told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
“But I want to see him handle the pressure of a championship, because at the moment he races with complete freedom.”