Ex-F1 driver claims almost half the grid could match Max Verstappen

Former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya has waded into the debate over Red Bull’s dominance in the sport.

Juan Pablo Montoya, a former Formula 1 driver, has stirred controversy by asserting that Max Verstappen’s current prowess is not a substantial improvement over his performance two years ago. 

Montoya also challenged Lewis Hamilton’s recent grievances about Red Bull’s advantage, arguing that Mercedes had previously enjoyed similar dominance.

As Formula 1 transitions from a long period of Mercedes dominance to the era of Red Bull, Max Verstappen’s supremacy has been on display, with the Dutch driver poised for his third consecutive World Championship. 

Montoya acknowledges Verstappen’s accomplishments but contends that his success is closely intertwined with piloting the “best car” on the grid.

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While acknowledging Verstappen’s impressive achievements, Montoya emphasises the impact of the machinery. 

He conveyed to FormulaPassion.It, “Verstappen is doing a great job at the moment… 

“Max is a very good driver, but for now he has the best car. 

“Verstappen’s speed right now is no higher than it was two years ago, it’s probably the same. Only that the car is much faster.”

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Montoya goes further, suggesting that the success Verstappen is experiencing could potentially be replicated by other talented drivers. 

He speculates that there are “seven or eight drivers” on the current grid, including names like Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris, who could achieve World Championship glory if given the opportunity in a top-tier team like Red Bull.

He highlights the symbiotic relationship between a driver’s skill and the machinery at their disposal.

Furthermore, Montoya engages in a critique of Lewis Hamilton’s recent comments regarding Red Bull’s competitive edge. 

Hamilton had stated that Mercedes had never enjoyed the same level of advantage as Red Bull currently does. 

Montoya rebuffs this claim, suggesting that Mercedes had indeed experienced a similar advantage during their dominant years.

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Montoya suggests that Hamilton’s perspective is influenced by the tendency to voice complaints when not winning, but when he did win, Hamilton had downplayed the car’s role in his success. 

Montoya comments, “It’s always very nice to complain when you don’t win, but when Lewis won he said that the car didn’t give him any advantage… 

“Actually Mercedes’ advantage was as big as what Red Bull currently has.”