Why Max Verstappen beats Lewis Hamilton in equal cars has been pinpointed: PlanetF1

Max Verstappen would triumph over Lewis Hamilton in equal machinery nowadays, claims a former F1 team boss.

As F1’s two most recent greats, with Verstappen adding a third successive title to his career tally after a dominant year at the front of the sport, the eternal question of whether Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton is the better driver continues to be asked.

As a seven-time world champion, alongside Michael Schumacher for the most wins of anyone in the sport’s history, Hamilton’s pedigree is undeniable, while Verstappen’s recent success has elevated him into the upper echelons of the sports history books.

Joanne Villadelprat: Max Verstappen is now the best driver in F1

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PlanetF1.com, former Benetton boss Joan Villadelprat weighed in on who he would put his money on between Hamilton and Verstappen – and was blunt when asked if he thought Hamilton was still on Verstappen’s level.

“No. Luis makes mistakes,” said the Spaniard.

“He doesn’t have the car. And we don’t know how good the Red Bull car is.

“You can compare the Mercedes car, how good it is because [George] Russell is good. And he’s there with Hamilton.

“You don’t know Red Bull. Red Bull is Max and Checo [Perez] half a second to a second behind. Checo is not a bad driver, he is a great fast driver.

“Maybe the way they designed the car, maybe the way Max asks things, maybe what you put in that car to make Max faster is completely against what Checo probably wants.”

The idea of ​​Hamilton and Verstappen ending up in the same team remains a wide-ranging proposition, although Christian Horner’s recent revelation of an apparent inquiry from Hamilton’s father about Red Bull fueled much speculation during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.

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But if Hamilton and Verstappen end up in the same team for 2024, Villadelprat believes a current-spec Verstappen would beat a current-spec Hamilton – although that doesn’t mean it always has been, or even could be in the future.

“I think today, [Max],” he said.

“He has such confidence today. I believe that today.

“It doesn’t mean that… well, look at Alonso and what he’s done this year, at 42. He’s still like a little kid. Today, drivers’ careers can be longer and whatever, in the past 30 years, 32, 33, you had to retire by now.

“You might get to 50 today if you keep it up. I believe the body language, what you see, the way they approach the weekend, the way you do the first lap – because Max, in one lap, is there. Bam, that’s it. Wet, dry, wet, whatever – it doesn’t take more than one lap to be there.

“But he puts his foot down on the first lap, and the first lap is faster. Boom, that’s it. That’s his confidence.

“Now he has the confidence to be untouchable. When a Formula 1 driver, a world champion, reaches this stage, it is very difficult to stop him.

“Hamilton has had moments like that. But… how do I say this without sounding anti-Hamilton? Because I’m not at all, I love Hamilton.

“But he had a great time with Mercedes, knowing the rules of the engine well before anyone else. They get the best damn engine in the paddock and for a while it was the most powerful.

“Not just the chassis, but the engine in particular was the most powerful engine in the paddock. This helped him win many championships.

“If you are comparing [Nico] Rosberg and him, I don’t see Rosberg as anything special. Rosberg could sometimes and [Valtteri] Bottas was sometimes faster than Hamilton in qualifying as well, and he is not a special driver.

“We are not talking about Bottas being in the league of [Ayrton] Senna or Hamilton, Max or Michael – not even Rosberg was in that league. This means they had a tool that was more powerful than the others.

“I don’t think Max has it. Because the first year they won the championship, it was like that (shows a slight gap with his fingers).

“Today his teammate is not even close. And his teammate is not bad – he is fast like Bottas and Rosberg. Checo Perez is faster than them. I think so too. So I don’t know how much the car is worth and how much Max is.’

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