Controversial ex-F1 driver denies Max Verstappen is better than Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen has won 10 of the 12 completed races in 2023, and is set to win the championship.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya believes “seven or eight drivers” would be capable of winning the World Championship if they had Max Verstappen’s car, and if the Dutchman wasn’t on the grid.

The reigning World Champion has been unstoppable this season, with the 25-year-old having claimed 10 wins from the 12 completed races in 2023.

Eight of those have come in a row, with him taking his streak into his home Grand Prix at the end of August.

Unsurprisingly, his dominance has allowed him to create a 125-point advantage in the Drivers’ Championship, which won’t be broken.

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Verstappen is very much in a league of his own in the best car on the grid; however, his driving ability has been described as what makes him “unbeatable”.

“In Belgium he put 22 seconds on Perez who races with the same car,” said ex-F1 team owner and team principal Giancarlo Minardi.

“He is easily beating Checo, as he did with all those other poor guys who found themselves in his team,” he told La Repubblica newspaper.

“Yes, the Red Bull is very powerful, but it’s his ability to drive it that makes it unbeatable,” said Minardi. “There’s him and then all the others who share the crumbs.

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“If Max didn’t exist, F1 would be a more balanced and spectacular fight.”

Montoya though, believes a lot of Verstappen’s dominance is down to him having the “best car”.

The Colombian believes the likes of Lewis Hamilton or Lando Norris would’ve won Verstappen’s titles if they had the Dutchman’s car, and if Verstappen wasn’t on the grid.

“Right now, Max is doing a very good job,” Montoya told the Colombian weekly Semana. “But he looks just as invincible as when Hamilton was winning everything. That’s the reality.

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“Max is a very good driver, but he’s in the best car.

“His speed right now is no better than his speed two years ago. It’s probably the same. It’s the car that is much better.

“If you take Max out of that car, there are seven or eight drivers who could be world champion in that car. If he wasn’t there, Checo, Hamilton, Sainz, Leclerc, Norris – they’d be world champion.”