The opening race of the 2021 Formula 1 season saw a thrilling battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, that ended with the Brit taking the win by less than one second. The Red Bull star was the fastest on track during pre-season testing and took the pole in what was an impressive race weekend in Bahrain.
It’s no secret that Verstappen is among F1’s most talented drivers and Nelson Piquet claims that if they were to race in the same car the Dutchman would have no trouble outscoring Hamilton.
“First of all, we have to consider that F1 is a category with different cars, so it’s very difficult to make a direct comparison between two drivers if they are not on the same team. But if Max were driving for Mercedes, I’m sure that he would smash Hamilton,” he told Motorsport.com.
According to him, part of the reason why Hamilton has been so successful is due to his teammates not being good enough drivers.
“Max is more aggressive. He may make mistakes more frequently due to this aggressiveness, but in my opinion he’s better than Hamilton. Things are too easy for Hamilton to win it all with Bottas by his side as a second driver.”
“It’s not that Hamilton isn’t good,” he explained, “But he has an inferior driver by his side and the previous one [Rosberg] was even worse. He [Rosberg] won because it was a year where Hamilton had crashes and DNFs.”
“It’s a little bit like Mansell and myself in Williams, with the other drivers far behind. I won the 1987 championship, and I wasn’t driving like before, because I had the accident at the beginning of the year and had field depth problems. But I won that championship, with a bit of luck. I should have won in 1986, but won in 1987.”
“But it was so easy. The car was far better than the others. And Mercedes is far better than the others for the past years.”
Piquet Jr also shared his opinion on the two drivers, comparing Max Verstappen to an MMA fighter.
“I think we have to consider two things: Lewis’ experience and Max’s desire. Lewis has been in F1 for 15 seasons and I think that, little by little, you start to lose that desire. On the other hand, Max is coming with a knife between his teeth.”, he said.
“I like to compare Max with an MMA fighter, coming ready to face any challenge. It’s different from Lewis, that already won championships and so on.”
That is why he is convinced that “Lewis’ experience will help in some areas, but Max’s willingness and aggressiveness is bigger.”
By the looks of it we are in for more spectacular battles between the two.