Max Verstappen was a level above the rest of the drivers on the grid last year, winning a record shattering 15 races on the way to his second consecutive world championship.
The only black mark on his almost flawless 2022 record is the fact that he appeared to struggle at street circuits, often being outperformed by his teammate at these tracks.
Sergio Perez earned the ‘King of the street circuits’ title after claiming victory in Monaco and Singapore while Verstappen struggled, leading fans to wonder if the Dutchman’s Achille’s heel had been exposed.
The 25-year-old has explained that he does not believe street circuits have a place in Formula 1 anymore, unless the tracks are altered to suit the new era of F1 cars.
Verstappen explained that the new F1 cars are much larger than they were before and do not allow the drivers to drive over the kerbs that play such a prominent role in these street circuits, making them lesser suited to F1 races that they previously were.
Former F1 champion Mika Hakkinen has now hit back at Verstappen’s claims, choosing instead to highlight what makes street circuits so great rather than focussing on the negatives.
“We know the cities can offer so many attractions for fans,” the Finn told Top Gear.
“You have restaurants, you have shopping malls, you have beautiful hotels. People can look at the race from their balcony.
“And if people can stay in a boat, it’s a luxury. Formula 1 is Formula 1, it’s a luxury business, and people can enjoy incredible atmosphere. So to have races in the cities, I think it’s brilliant.
“It gives more challenges for the teams and drivers. But you know, drivers are paid to take these challenges and bring a great show for the fans.”
Hakkinen will most likely be much happier than Verstappen to see Las Vegas added to the calendar for the upcoming season, as the US based street race will join Monaco, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Baku as the street circuits for 2023.
The future of the Monaco Grand Prix has been cast into doubt recently however, as it has become almost impossible to overtake around the iconic track, leading to the FIA weighing up if the track still has a place in the sport.