Former Formula One driver Karun Chandhok says Max Verstappen can withstand pressure like Marc Marquez and fight hard like Michael Schumacher. The Red Bull driver has long been considered one of the most talented drivers on the grid of the premier class who was expected to win the title.
In the 2021 season, he got a competitive car with which he managed to achieve that goal. By overtaking Lewis Hamilton in the final lap of the last race in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen won the title. Prior to that, driving in his home race: the Grand Prix of the Netherlands, where he came out victorious in a nominative way in front of his army of fans demonstrated the steely nerves of a Red Bull driver.
A champion at just 24, Chandhok has therefore seen parallels between Verstappen’s ability to cope with the pressure Marc Marquez has to do the same. The Spaniard won six titles between seven MotoGP seasons between 2013 and 2019 and won his first title when he was just 20 years old.
In a column for Sky Sports, Chandhok wrote, “There is no doubt that Max deserved to be a world champion,” he says. "In 18 of the 19 races he finished, Verstappen was either first or second, a remarkable record for constant top performance, especially considering this was a 24-year-old who struggled with the pressure of his first title fight."
“Zandvoort was a special highlight because it was a home race that was basically put together for him. I’ve never been to a race where 99 percent of the audience cheered for one driver." "The newspaper was wall-to-wall with stories of Max, and even the royal family stood in line to shake his hand.
” "However, on two occasions when I happened to walk to the paddock next to him, we talked casually as if it were the Chinese Grand Prix. His phenomenal ability to cope with the pressure in such a youth reminds me of MotoGP ace Marco Marquez, ”he added.
Max Verstappen's aggressive style
Verstappen caused great criticism for his aggressive driving, which led to him being treated differently by the judges on several occasions. There were also situations, such as during his fight with Hamilton in Brazil to defend the leadership position, where it was thought that the judges should have punished Verstappen, but they did not.
Chandhok, who compared this style of racing to Schumacher's, said it was up to the FIA to "redefine the rules" of such situations. “Yes, his wheel-to-wheel race was tough, on the verge of fairness, and in Monza and Jeddah he crossed the line,” Chandhok continues.
"But he has an uncompromising style of racing like Michael Schumacher once had, and the FIA now has to redefine the rules of engagement because clearly, as Brazil and Abu Dhabi have shown, there is a lack of clarity about that," he explains.
"All in all, in terms of constant brilliance, both Lewis and Max have reached a benchmark rarely seen in Formula One history, and I'm looking forward to resuming rivalry in 2022."