Ex-Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella has revealed that reigning World Champion Max Verstappen is “as strong” as seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, with the Italian believing that Verstappen is “destined to dominate for a long time”.
Formula 1 is certainly in the middle of a Verstappen era, with the Dutchman having claimed the last two world titles.
Unless something truly unexpected happens, then the 25-year-old will likely become a three-time World Champion this year, with him being the clear favourite for another title.
Following his victory last weekend at the Miami Grand Prix, Verstappen now leads the Drivers’ Championship by 14 points, ahead of the upcoming triple-header.
With Red Bull being as imperious as they are, then Verstappen could very easily dominate for several years, especially with him being contracted to the Milton Keynes-based team until the end of 2028.
His domination will likely last at least until 2026, when the new power unit regulations will be introduced.
Until then, a miracle is required from either Ferrari or Mercedes to unsettle Red Bull, or Verstappen needs to be challenged right until the end of the season by team-mate Sergio Perez.
Fisichella is one of many who don’t see how Verstappen can be beaten given his current superiority, with him being at the same level as some of the greatest drivers of all-time.
“I raced against Schumacher, when he won everything with Ferrari, and I think there was no one as strong as Michael in race management. He remains number one to this day. But if we talk about driving talent, Max Verstappen is on the same level,” Fisichella told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I fear that Max is destined to dominate for a long time, if the union with Red Bull remains so strong.
“At the beginning he was crashing, he made a few mistakes due to inexperience, whereas now he hardly ever makes mistakes.
“He has acquired an incredible consistency of performance, eliminating weak points. He is strong in the wet, in the dry, on the dry lap in qualifying and in the race. He is complete.
“If we talk about precocity, considering what he has done and is doing at his age, he is even ahead of the greats of the past who preceded him.
“Only Charles Leclerc can be compared to him in this respect. And in any case, a driver like Verstappen is born once every 20 years.”