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Lauda: Verstappen is the most fantastic young F1 driver I’ve ever seen

Sequence of retirements infect the first half of Max Verstappen’s 2017 F1 season but the Dutch man recovering to claim two wins in the second-half. The Dutchman completed just five of the first 12 grand’s prix, hit with the bulk of Red Bull’s Renault reliability issues.

Following the remarkable recovery, Mercedes chairman and former triple-time world champion Niki Lauda says that the Red Bull speedy is the best young driver he’s seen in all his years in the Formula One. Lauda has now offered his take on what Verstappen needs to do to ensure his talent does not go to waste.

“In all my many years in motor racing, Max is the most fantastic young driver I’ve ever seen, no doubt,” Lauda explained to Globo Esporte.

“Max, at 19, now 20, impresses me. He is aggressive, fast. The only thing I would tell him is to keep his feet on the ground.

“He has a tendency to lose control of himself, but if he masters those impulses he can be one of the greatest drivers F1 has ever known.”

Verstappen heads into Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the season finale, chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said.

“Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”

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