David Coulthard tears apart ‘nonsense’ Lewis Hamilton v Max Verstappen theory

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Max Verstappen laughs as Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton looks on after qualifying for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen laughs as Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton looks on after qualifying for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix.

Former Red Bull driver David Coulthard says the idea that Max Verstappen is not at the level of Lewis Hamilton is “nonsense”.

Formula 1 fans were treated to a spectacle in F1 2021 as these generational talents went head-to-head in battle for the World Championship, though the next chapter is yet to be written with Hamilton’s Mercedes team struggling to find an answer to Verstappen and Red Bull following the regulatory overhaul for F1 2022.

While Hamilton has not taken to the top step of the podium since Saudi Arabia 2021, Verstappen has risen to become the dominant force of Formula 1 and knows a top-six finish in the upcoming Qatar Grand Prix will secure the title, his third in as many seasons.

David Coulthard clear Max Verstappen is not overrated

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said recently that Verstappen must now be considered among the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all-time, though the level of dominance which Red Bull has enjoyed over the competition for much of this ground effect aerodynamics era has left a slight question mark for some.

Coulthard is having none of that though, saying one only needs to look at Verstappen’s annihilation of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez to understand the calibre of driver he is.

“If I just bring it to Max for a moment,” Coulthard began when speaking alongside former Jordan team boss Eddie Jordan on the Formula For Success podcast, “I’ve seen all sorts of comments where people are going, ‘you know, he’s overrated, he’s not at the same level as Lewis [Hamilton], and this is just nonsense.

“If you look at what he does with that car, and with the greatest respect to Checo, who is a very talented, fast race driver, he looks average in comparison to what Max has been able to deliver when he’s really on it.”

That being said, Coulthard expects sterner challenges to come for Red Bull, warning “nothing lasts forever” when it comes to being the leading force in Formula 1.

“So it’s fascinating, isn’t it? It’s fascinating to see just how the season unfolds,” Coulthard continued.

“Red Bull are the team right now, but as you and I both know, nothing lasts forever. And there’ll be a moment that somebody comes and takes over their mantle.

“And they have been incredibly consistent in their delivery…it will be 20 years of Red Bull next year.”

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The late Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz was the driving force behind Red Bull’s arrival on the grid in 2005, Jordan recalling how the team and their star recruit on the driving side Coulthard were being counted out from the start.

But, as the one-year anniversary of Mateschitz’s passing approaches, Jordan spoke of his happiness to watch Red Bull dominate Formula 1, seeing that as a fitting tribute to the team’s founder.

“I’m so happy to see Red Bull so dominant, because I think it’s testament, I think it’s a wonderful tribute to Dietrich Mateschitz,” he said.

“I think people at Red Bull, what they’ve achieved, because no one 20 years ago, David, they didn’t even give you a chance of survival, they didn’t give him a chance and it’s been fantastic.

“The journey they’ve been on, remarkable, one of the great sporting stories.”

Red Bull already have the 2023 Constructors’ Championship in the bag, courtesy of Verstappen’s dominant victory last time out at Suzuka.

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